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i Cuan solitaria la uauioii que un dia 

Poblara immensa gcntc ! 
; La nacion cuyo imperio se cstendia 

Del Ocaso al Orients ! 

Lagrimas viertes, infeliz ahora, 

Soberana del mundo, 
; Y nadie de tu faz encantadora 

Borra el dolor profundo ! — Espronceda. 


^lublisbct in (Dr&inarg to |)rr itlajcstg. 



It may appear almost superfluous that a preface 
should accompany a work like the present, but I must 
be excused in this instance, in order that I may render 
a passing tribute to the artist, who has kindly assisted 
me in the illustrations of the following pages. The 
landscape and architectural drawings are from my 
own sketches, but the figures are from the pencil of 
Mr. Egron Lundgren, a Swedish Artist now residing 
in Seville, whose admirable delineations of Spanish life 
and customs are well known to those who have had the 
pleasure of visiting his studio. 

The reader will find in these pages the results of 
passing observations made during a two years' residence 
in the country. I have endeavoured to give a faithful 
description of the present state of Spain, a country for 
which I have always entertained feelings of peculiar 
interest, and of which I shall carry away many 


pleasing recollections, of happy days spent beneath its 
sunny sky. 

No books have been consulted in the preparation of 
this work, beyond the local histories of the various 
cities which we visited, and some of the Spanish 
historians : indeed, I had but few at my command. 
Under the disadvantages of being absent from England 
during the progress of this book through the press, I 
should have had even more diffidence in presenting it 
to the public, had it not been for the assistance of two 
or three kind friends, to whom I can hardly sufficiently 
express my thanks. 

Seville, May, 1853. 


The whole of the Illustrations which accompany 
this Volume (from original drawings by Lady Louisa 
Tenison and Mr. Egron Limdgren) have been executed • 
under the superintendence of that distinguished artist, 
Mr. John F. Lewis. 

New Burlington Street, 
July 16, 1853. 


















DE LA VELA — REMAINING TOWERS ■ *W • ■ • • • • .48 


























INSTITUTIONS — THE INFANTA ... 0. ...... • 165 



























CURATE ARRIVAL AT MADRID ............ 288 








MAYOR ............... 315 



















CORO — LIBRARY — THE VILLAGE INN .......... 405 




























RONDA 257 











TOLEDO . kg . . . 472 














MANTILLA DE TIRO ' . . .224 







EL BRASERO .... 404 






Un tiempo Espaiia fud ; cien heroes fueron 

En tiempos de Ventura, 

Y las uaciones timidas la vicron 

Yistosa en hcrmosura 

Cual cedro que in Libano se ostenta, 
Su frente se elevaba; 
Como el trueno a la virgen amedrenta 
Su voz las asterraba. 

Mas ora, como piedra en el desierto 
Yaces desamparada 









It was a glorious evening in the beginning of October 
1850, when we found ourselves steaming out of the 
Bay of Gibraltar on our way to Malaga, where we 



were going to remain the winter. Nothing could 
exceed the beauty of the night. There was not a 
ripple on the sea ; and as the steamer dashed along, 
the waters around sparkled with phosphorescent light, 
and millions of fire-flies seemed to be dancing amid 
the white foam which rose about us. There was no 
moon ; but the stars were shining with the most 
intense brilliancy, standing out in the deep dark sky. 
and shedding so clear a light, that we could distinguish 
the grand outline not only of the rock itself, but of the 
range of lofty mountains stretching far away towards 
Tarifa, and marking on our left the long line of the 
Spanish coast whose soil we were about to visit for the 
first time. 

No one can approach Spain without feelings of the 
deepest interest, different indeed from those which 
animate the traveller on first seeing the more clas-ir 
shores of Greece or Italy, but still of a character which 
awakens many a stirring thought and cherished recol- 
lection. She has filled a great page in the World's 
History. The very darkness of her infancy is not in 
common with that of other countries. It embraces a 
period and events in which perhaps is to be found the 
surest clue to the earliest colonisation of the west of 
Europe and whatever of arts and of civilisation it may 
have then possessed. She, too, as well as other lands, 
had her fields laid waste by civil war and invasion ; 
but in every phase of her story there is an interest 
peculiar to herself. Subject, in turn, to Carthage and 
to Rome ; then conquered by the Goths, whose power 
fell to pieces on the banks of the Guadalete, she Mas 
laid low at the foot of the Moslem, until the germ of 
a new dynasty sprang up in the fastnesses of the 
Asturias. Divided into many kingdoms, almost inces- 
santly at war with each other, her energies became 



gradually concentrated on the one great object, that 
of rescuing her soil from its Mahommedan rulers. 

Animated by religious enthusiasm, the untiring 
efforts of more than seven hundred years were at 
length crowned with success ; and the triumph of the 
cross was rewarded with the discovery of a new world 
and a boundless empire. Rapidly rising to the highest 
pinnacle of greatness, the first among the nations in 
chivalrous renown, in military power, in wealth and 
commerce, she dazzled the world with her glories for 
a season, only to render more visible the darkness that 
has shrouded her since. Even in our own times, 
though her plains have been the battle fields on which 
the destinies of Europe have been partly decided, she 
is but little known and little visited ; yet, proud even 
in her fall, she seems content that the stranger should 
pass her by unheeded, without lifting the veil which 
conceals her corruption and decay. Spain has been 
ever the favoured land of Romance ; and some of her 
greatest heroes live but in the wild verses of her 
ballads. There is still a charm in this land of by-gone 
chivalry, which lingers about it, even after a long 
residence in the country and an acquaintance with the 
sad realities of its present state, have gone far to dispel 
the dreams in which imagination had so long indulged. 

Our steamer was very comfortable — one of those 
Spanish vessels which run from Cadiz to Marseilles, 
stopping at all the intermediate ports. They regulate 
their progress so as to arrive during the morning or 
early in the day, at the several points they visit, where 
they remain some hours ; thus affording the tourist a 
most delightful though rapid view of the southern and 
eastern shores of the Peninsula. We were on deck 
before sunrise, anxious to have the first view of our 

B 2 



The sun was rising out of the waters as we 
approached, gilding the whole range of mountains, 
at the foot of which Malaga appeared with its famous 
fortress, the Gibralfaro towering to the right, and its 
lofty Cathedral elevated high above the surrounding 
buildings. From the sea the town appears small : the 
Cathedral seeming to form the principal portion. As 
we approached, it being some gala day, the guns from 
the fortress began firing ; and no great effort of 
imagination was required to picture Malaga as it lay 
during its memorable siege ; to conjure up the past, 
and see the Christian army encamped around — the 
low plain which stretches out to the left, and the 
surrounding hills covered with Castilian troops — the 
ensign of the cross floating over the tent of Ferdinand 
and Isabella — the blue waters whitened with sails 
bearing supplies to the camp of the besiegers — while 
the inhabitants of the town looked in vain for relief 
to the distant shores of Africa ; their sacred banner 
still waving from the heights of the Gibralfaro. But 
a nearer approach soon destroyed the illusion — the 
Malaga before which the Catholic Sovereigns lay 
encamped suddenly vanished, and we saw before us 
the Malaga of the nineteenth century, flanked on each 
side by the tall chimneys of its iron-works, more 
befitting the neighbourhood of Liverpool or Glasgow 
than the sunny clime of Andalucia. But unpoetical 
and discordant with the scene around, as such erections 
may appear, it is upon them that the e} r e ultimately 
rests with greatest satisfaction, glad to see, that amid 
the lethargy that is so widely prevalent, there is still 
a sign of life and health and hope for the future. 

The dreams of the past, first dispelled by the sight 
of the tall chimneys of the Heredias iron-works, were 
thoroughly banished when we cast anchor in the port : 



and we landed, in no very romantic mood, amid the 
whirl and confusion of Custom House officers examining 
the luggage, of porters seizing it in every direction, 
and of importunate people from the different hotels, 
each recommending his own with all the energy and 
vehement gesticulations generally displayed on such 
occasions by the excitable inhabitants of the south. 

We walked up to the hotel on the Alameda, now 
the great resort of all the English, and certainly it is 
far superior to the general class of Spanish hotels, 
although wanting a great deal to make it equal to 
similar establishments in other continental countries. 
The house is one of the handsomest on the Alameda. 
We found the prices for our party very high, and went 
to look over some of the other hotels, but the little we 
saw of them convinced us we had better remain where 
we first took up our quarters. We made accordingly 
an agreement with the landlord, and engaged our 
rooms for the winter. I cannot say that to English 
ideas they presented much appearance of comfort, 
the scanty furniture consisting of nothing more than 
a sofa, a table, and a few chairs : the absence of carpets 
and of curtains to the windows did not impress one 
very highly with the arrangements of the much vaunted 
English hotel at Malaga. However, we soon became 
accustomed to it, and resigned ourselves to what could 
not be avoided. The impossibility of getting furnished 
houses or apartments in towns in Spain is a very 
8< rious disadvantage to families spending the winter in 
that country, being driven either to remain in the 
hotels, where the charges are high in proportion to the 
comforts they afford, or else obliged to take unfurnished 
rooms and buy the furniture — the latter an unprofit- 
able speculation for families intending to remain but a 
few months in a place ; for in Spain, even more than 



elsewhere, it is difficult to find purchasers just at the 
moment you would wish to meet with them. The 
hotel in which we resided is situated upon the north 
side of the Alameda or public walk, and has the full 
benefit of the sun during the winter — a great advantage 
to invalids. They only can tell the comfort of having 
rooms facing the sun, who have lived much during the 
winter in southern climates, where there is a total 
absence of fire-places or stoves, and where the houses 
are so badly prepared against cold, that it is impossible 
to find either a door or a window which closes properly. 
When we arrived, the apartments were rather too 
warm, for the heat in October was excessive ; but we 
soon found the advantage of the position, when the 
winter really commenced. 

The Alameda is a fine long promenade, with four 
rows of acacias forming three avenues, the centre and 
broadest of all being reserved for pedestrians. Had 
it been along the sea shore, like the Chiaja at Naples, 
it would be beautiful ; but as it is, the effect is quite 
destroyed from its being shut in from the sea and 
enclosed by two rows of houses. At times, the dust 
there is almost intolerable ; but nevertheless it is the 
only promenade Malaga possesses, and as such, is the 
place where all the world walk up and down, to see and 
be seen. There is a very pretty marble fountain at one 
end ; but the absence of shade — for acacias are not of 
much utility in affording shelter from the sun — and the 
want of flowers, which abound in the Alamedas of other 
towns, render it very commonplace. 

Here, on fete days, in particular, the stranger may 
see the inhabitants promenading in their gayest dresses. 
Such a variety of colours meet and dazzle the eye as to 
make him at once conclude that whatever attractive 
qualities Spanish women may possess, taste in dress 



cannot be considered among them. The most striking- 
novelty on first landing in Spain is the mantilla, or 
black veil, which is generally worn, although here and 
there bonnets are creeping in, and Spanish women are 
sacrificing the only becoming peculiarity they have left 
in order to imitate the fashions of their neighbours. 
There is an elegance and a dressy appearance about the 
mantilla which create surprise at its not having been 
adopted by other nations ; and if Spaniards could only 
be made to feel how unbecoming bonnets are to them, 
the rich masses of whose splendid hair prevent the 
bonnet being properly worn, they would cherish the 
mantilla as conferring on them a peculiar charm in 
which they are safe to fear no rivals. 

I know that I shall be accused of insensibility and 
want of taste, when I confess that my first disappoint- 
ment on landing in Spain was the almost total absence 
of beauty amongst the Spanish women. Poets have 
sung of Spain's " dark glancing daughters," and travel- 
lers have wandered through the country, wdth minds so 
deeply impressed with the preconceived idea of the 
beauty of the women, that they have found them all 
their imaginations so fondly pictured, and in their 
works have fostered, what I cannot help maintaining, 
is a mere delusion ; one of the many hi which people 
still indulge when they think and dream of Spain. The 
women of Spain have magnificent eyes, beautiful hah', 
and generally fine teeth ; but more than that cannot be 
said by those who are content to give an honest and 
candid opinion. I have rarely seen one whose features 
could be called strictly beautiful, and that bewitching 
grace and fascination about their figures and their 
walk which they formerly possessed, have disappeared 
with the high comb which supported the mantilla, and 
the narrow basquiha, which gave a peculiar character 



to their walk. With the change in their costume, those 
distinctive charms have vanished. The gaudy colours 
which now prevail have destroyed the elegance that 
always accompanies black, in which alone, some years 
since, a lady could appear in public. No further proof 
of this is required than to see the same people at 
church, where black is still considered indispensable, 
and on the Alameda with red dresses and yellow 
shawls, or some colours equally gaudy and combined 
with as little regard to taste. The men have likewise 
abandoned the cloak, and now appear in paletots and 
every variety of foreign invention : nor have they 
either gained by their sacrifices at the altar of French 
fashion. By no means distinguished in figure, none 
needed more the rich folds of the capa to lend them that 
air of grace and dignity which it peculiarly possesses. 
Although I have not yet discovered the beauty of 
Spanish women, I must say that the Malaguenians are 
fairly entitled, in all that does exist, to dispute the 
palm with the inhabitants of any other town we have 
visited. There are some very pretty faces and very 
characteristic of the Spanish countenance. They are 
generally very dark, and almost all have that peculiar 
projecting brow which gives to the face quite a character 
of its own. The women have a universal custom of 
putting fresh flowers in their hair. It strikes one much, 
upon first arriving, to see those of every class, even the 
poorest, with some flower or another most gracefully 
placed in their rich black hair, the beauty of which 
is not a little enhanced by the bright red rose, or 
snowy jasmine contrasting so well with their raven 
tresses. The hair is generally worn plain, curls being 
seldom seen, for they do not suit the mantilla ; and if 
flowers cannot be procured, some bright ribbon is 
invariably worn as a substitute. The love of brilliaut 




and showy colours, appearing to form a ruling passion 
in the present day, offers a singular contrast to the 
fashion of twenty years ago, when a lady who would 
have ventured into the street dressed in anything but 
Mack would have been mobbed and insulted by the 
people. As it is, the lower orders are not very tolerant of 
customs and habits which differ from their own standard, 
and are in the habit of giving vent to their opinions of 
strangers, who go about their towns, in terms some- 
times most complimentary, but oftener just the reverse, 
especially when they happen to have anything about 
their dress which displeases the critical eye, or excites 
the merriment of the lively Andalucian. The people, 
however, are fast following in the steps of the upper 
classes, and abandoning their rich and picturesque 
dresses. In short, in many ways, Spaniards are losing 
those peculiarities which have invested their land with 
a certain poetical charm, and are adopting many of the 
trivial commonplaces of other countries, which, to a 
passing observer, may seem to indicate an advance- 
ment in civilisation ; but alas ! they make but little 
progress in those more sterling and intellectual qualities, 
and those industrial pursuits, which would enable Spain 
once more to assume that place which the natural 
advantages of her soil and position would qualify her 
to hold among the nations of the present day. 

Our first visit to the theatre at Malaga confirmed 
my impressions of the exaggerated accounts generally 
given of Spanish beauty. All the best people were 
there, but only two or three very pretty faces were to 
be seen hi the boxes. The pit, divided into seats, each 
having its own number, is wholly appropriated to 
gentlemen. When first we arrived, the Alcalde or one 
of the Ayuntamiento always presided in the centre over 
the royal box ; but this practice has been discontinued 



lately, and the audience may now indulge in their 
applause or disapprobation unrestrained. There was an 
Italian company — of course a very indifferent one. 
They acted on alternate nights with the Spanish 
performers ; but we generally went on the evenings the 
latter gave their representations, the Spanish pieces 
offering to us a greater attraction than Italian Operas 
by inferior singers. One of the pieces, which had the 
greatest run, was a Spanish comic opera, called the 
Tio Caniytas, which has taken immensely the last two 
years. An unhappy Englishman is the hero of the 
play, and his endeavours to cultivate the society of a 
youthful gipsy, in order to acquire with more facility 
the Gitano language, afford the Spaniards a good 
opportunity of turning our countrymen into ridicule ; 
and he is victimised in turn by the old uncle and by the 
lover of his dark instructress. There are some very 
pretty airs introduced, and a characteristic dance called 
the Vito. It is amusing to a stranger from the costume 
and the plot. Being partly in the Andalucian and 
partly in the Gitano dialect, it is rather incomprehensible 
to any one who has not been some time in the country. 
Some of the lighter Spanish pieces are very attractive ; 
but their tragedies, however well they may read, are 
indeed formidable on the stage, as they contain very 
long speeches and very little action. 

While we were at Malaga, they brought out a piece 
called the Mercado de Londres (the London Market), 
illustrating the adventures of a Spaniard in London. 
The incidents were not very nattering to our national 
pride, as the story turned on the interesting subject of 
a man selling his wife — an event which they seem to 
imagine is of the commonest occurrence in "soberbia 

The district of Malaga was formed into a bishopric 



and made suffragan to the see of Seville, in 1488. Pope 
Innocent VIII. had issued a bull, authorising the 
Grand Cardinal Mendoza to erect churches wherever he 
might think lit in the cities gained from the Moors. 
The cathedral was commenced in 1522 : and its design 
is by some ascribed to Diego de Siloe. The facade 
cannot boast of much architectural beauty ; it is 
flanked by two towers — one completed, the other not 
yet raised above the faqade, remaining, like all 
cathedrals in Spain, unfinished. Of the time of 
Philip II., it offers nothing remarkable either in the 
interior or exterior ; the latter is, however, decorated 
with some rich marbles. The existence of these, which 
had been covered over with plaster and whitewash, was 
hardly known, until a few years ago, when one of the 
richest merchants in Malaga, a British subject, undertook 
to clean the facade at his own expense, preparatory 
to the first visit of the Infanta and the Duke de 
Montpensier. ' 

The effect of all the cathedrals I have yet seen in 
Spain is destroyed by the plan of having the choir in 
the centre of the church, facing the high altar, instead 
of behind it. It prevents the eye taking in the whole 
of the edifice, chokes up the nave and renders it 
impossible to obtain a view of the high altar, unless 
sideways from the aisles. No beauty of execution in 
the choir itself can atone for the manner in which it mars 
the general effect of the whole building : it also seems 
to interfere with the due observance of public worship, 
for the frequent processions of priests and acolytes, 
to and from the bishop's throne, which is situated 
in the choir, serve only to distract the attention 
which should solely be devoted to the altar. 

The crowds of women, all in black, form a very 
striking feature on first entering the Spanish churches. 



They all kneel, or sit on the floor with their feet 
gathered under them, and fill up every pause in the 
service with the fluttering of their fans. There are not 
any seats, consequently all must stand or adopt a 
similar alternative. However fatiguing to those 
unaccustomed to it, the effect is pleasing ; for instead of 
the noise and confusion that seats more or less occasion, 
a change of attitude is only indicated by a gentle wavy 
motion as they change from one position to the other : 
besides, the religious impression it produces, that there 
there is no exclusiveness — the rich and the poor, the 
humble and the great, find themselves all placed upon 
the same equality. 

The men — such of them as do attend, and they are 
not many — appear to go there more for form than any- 
thing else. They rarely use a book, and never kneel, 
except for a few moments, during the elevation. 
Indeed, a Spanish church, and a Spanish congregation 
of the present day, leave on the stranger's mind any- 
thing but a favourable impression of the religious 
condition of the country. 

We were most painfully struck with the apparent 
indifference to these things when we joined the crowd 
which thronged to the cemetery on All Souls' day. 
a day ostensibly set apart for praying at the tombs of 
their deceased relatives. It appeared far more like a 
festive promenade, where all had met to enjoy each 
other's society and talk and amuse themselves. All who 
went, it is true, were in mourning ; but then counten- 
ances but little accorded with the sombre garb they 
had assumed, and, with some few exceptions, was the 
only evidence of sorrow to be seen. 

The cemetery is prettily situated on a knoll outside 
the town, surrounded by immense walls, some seven 
feet in thickness. These are all perforated with niches. 



in which the coffins are placed in regular rows, and 
then walled up, with the inscriptions let into the face 
of the wall. Some are buried in the ground within the 
enclosure, and there are several very handsome monu- 
ments. A magnificent chapel marks the burial-place 
of the Heredias, one of the wealthiest families in 
Malaga, On All Souls' day the tombs are lighted up, 
and hundreds of candles placed in every direction 
against the walls and over the monuments, which are 
covered with fresh flowers and wreaths of everlastings, 
the pious or formal offerings of surviving friends. 
There were some, indeed, who were weeping over the 
graves of those who had been dear to them ; but the 
vast majority walked round and round, utterly heedless 
of the ostensible object for which they had assembled ; 
or perhaps, if they did heave a passing sigh, at the 
sight of some well-known name, it was soon forgotten in 
the all-engrossing conversation of the living. Spaniards 
must have a strange powder of abstracting their minds 
for a moment from things around them, and returning 
to them again ; or else their prayers must be merely on 
the lips, for it is quite extraordinary how they will 
pause, in the middle of a prayer, to make some common- 
place observation, and then continue their devotions, as 
if the remark had been a mere parenthesis. Even the 
beggars will come and kneel down by your side in 
church, and beg and pray alternately in the most 
singular manner. But, whatever be the class, whether 
rich or poor, there seem to prevail, generally, an apathy 
and indifference in everything connected with religion, 
which indicate the sad, but inevitable reaction, to be 
looked for after a system in which intolerance was 
confounded with piety, and the essence of religion with 
its mere forms. 

The sea formerly covered the space on which the 



Alameda is now built ; and even further inland may 
be seen a fine horse-shoe arch, which was formerly the 
entrance to the Moorish arsenal. The present harbour 
was commenced in the reign of Philip II. The fruit 
market is held close to the hotel, and presents a very 
gay appearance from the glowing and brilliant colours 
of the fruits and vegetables exposed for sale. The 
delicate tinge of the clustering grape ; the bright 
scarlet of the tomata ; the rich green of the pimiento ; 
the dark purple of the fig ; the golden hue of the 
oranges and lemons, are all blended together, and the 
fruits are heaped around in the most lavish profusion. 

Near the Custom House there has been planted 
lately an avenue of Bella-sombras ( Phytolacca dioica), 
a very pretty broad-leaved tree, which grows rapidly 
but soon decays ; and all around are masses of scarlet 
geranium, which flourish here in the highest luxuriance. 
Close by is a small fort, from whence may be obtained 
one of the best views of the town. Here it appears 
backed by its Alcazaba, and the double line of walls 
which connect it with the more lofty fortress of the 
Gibralfaro. Below, the gigantic cathedral seems to 
occupy nearly the entire town, while the Mole stretches 
into the sea, with the light-house at the extremity of 
the harbour. 

The Guadalmedina runs along the western side of 
the Alameda, dividing the principal portion of the 
town from the barrios or quarters of the Trinidad 
and Perchel, which are inhabited by a very low and 
disorderly set of people — a reputation they seem to have 
possessed ever since the days of Cervantes. There is 
hardly a drop of water to be seen in the bed of the 
river, save, now and then, in the winter months, 
when an unusual quantity of rain has fallen in the 
mountains, and then it suddenly becomes a raging 



torrent, carrying everything before it as it rushes 
headlong to the sea. 

The beach, near the mouth of the river, was the scene 
of the cruel massacre of Torrijos and his companions 
in 1831. He led one of the many attempts made by 
the constitutionalists, and was accompanied by about 
fifty followers. Lured by the treacherous promises 
of Moreno, then governor of Malaga, who was 
leading them on to destruction, they set sail from 
Gibraltar in the month of December, intending to land 
at Velez. Watched, however, by a Guarda-Costa, 
they were obliged to put in at Fuengirola, and on 
their landing there, were made prisoners by Moreno's 
emissaries, and were taken into Malaga and shot upon 
the strand. But the rebels of yesterday may become 
the heroes of to-day ; and an obelisk in the Plaza de 
Riego now commemorates their names as martyrs to 
the cause of liberty. Beyond the Guaclalmedina an 
extensive plain stretches some leagues to the west- 
ward, where the distant range of the Yunguera bounds 
the horizon. To the east of the town the mountains 
approach close to the shore, the Gibralfaro being built 
on the last spur. It was across those hills, and 
between the fortress and the Peak of the Christobal, 
that Ferdinand's army passed when he came to lay 
siege to Malaga in 1487. A convent called de la 
Victoria now marks the spot where the Catholic 
sovereigns were encamped. 

Few cities were ever defended with more resolute 
courage than Malaga, but the heroic bravery of the 
governor, Hamet-el-Zegri, did not obtain for him any 
consideration at the hands of his conquerors, who 
consigned him to a dungeon for the remainder of 
his life. Malaga, had her citizens been inspired 
with his undaunted spirit, might have rivalled the 



Saguntum of early Spanish history ; but the com- 
mercial instinct of its inhabitants rendered them more 
anxious to secure their lives and property by coming 
to terms with Ferdinand, than endanger both by a 
desperate resistance. The heroic efforts of the chief 
of the Gomeres were counteracted by the more peace- 
able exertions of Ali Dordus, one of the principal 
merchants, who was allied to the royal family of 
Granada. He opened communications with the be- 
siegers and finally surrendered the city, after a three 
months' siege, during the latter period of which the 
inhabitants had endured all the horrors of famine. 
The inhabitants had, however, little reason to be 
satisfied with the conduct of those to whom the city 
had surrendered unconditionally. They were impri- 
soned and reduced to slavery, after having been de- 
spoiled of their wealth, and the treatment they received 
from Ferdinand and Isabella does not redound much 
to the credit of the conquerors. Ali Dordus himself, 
however, was rewarded : honours and wealth were 
showered upon him, and he retired to Antequera, 
where his son became a convert to Christianity. The 
latter and his wife were baptised, and received the 
names of Ferdinand and Isabella de Malaga, which 
family name is borne by their descendants to the 
present day. They were made nobles of Castile, and 
given for arms a shield with four quarterings ; the 
arms of the city they had surrendered ; a pome- 
granate, as descendants of Alhamar ; a lion for Cas- 
tile ; and a bar for Aragon. 

The Protestant Cemetery is another object of 
interest, although a melancholy one to the English 
traveller. It is beautifully situated on the slope of the 
hills just below the fortress ; it was a great boon 
obtained by the late Mr. Mark, British Consul at 



Malaga. The intolerance of the Spanish nation, in not 
allowing followers of any religion but their own to 
receive Christian burial in then country, is indeed 
disgraceful. At Cadiz, Malaga, and still more recently 
at Madrid, exceptions have been made ; but every- 
where else in Spain, none but Catholics can be buried 
in consecrated ground. Protestants have truly every 
reason to be grateful to Mr. Mark for his exertions. 
He was much beloved and respected by all who knew 
him ; and the number of Spaniards who followed his 
remains to the cemetery showed in an expressive 
manner, the estimation in which he was held. A cross 
has been placed with great good taste over the entrance 
to the grounds, which are filled with the choicest 
flowers, and very prettily laid out. One of the first 
Englishmen interred there was a Mr. Boyd, a com- 
panion of Torrijos, and who perished with the rest of 
his unfortunate comrades. 

It is also owing to the exertions of our present 
Consul, the son of the late Mr. Mark, that the service 
of the Church of England is performed twice every 
Sunday by a regularly appointed chaplain, in a room 
in the Consulate very suitably fitted up as a chapel. 
There are several Protestant families permanently 
residing in the town ; artisans employed in the iron 
foundries, &c. ; and these, added to the numerous 
visitors, who now flock there in the winter for health, 
form a very respectable congregation. 

Christmas is kept with great festivities in Spam. 
Its approach is heralded by enormous flocks of turkeys 
which block up all the streets, waiting for purchasers. 
Turkey on Christmas-day is quite as indispensable 
here as in England, and serves to remind one of the 
festive time approaching, although the appearance of 
the weather, the deep blue sky and glorious sun above, 



and the groves of oranges and lemons around, have 
little in common with the depth of winter, and the 
kind of weather which generally accompanies Christmas 
in our own land. 

Christmas Eve, or the Noche Buena, as it is called, 
is the season most peculiarly celebrated, and the 
chosen time for an interchange of presents. Cakes, 
fowls, fruit, and every description of provisions form 
the mutual interchange of good will. The noise in the 
streets for some days previously becomes intolerable 
from the screeching of the turkeys mingled with the 
din of the zambomba, a nondescript kind of instrument 
upon which all the little children play most frantically. 
It consists of something resembling a flower-pot ; over 
the top is stretched a piece of parchment, into which a 
small reed is inserted, and on this the performer rubs 
his hands up and down, after moistening them, and the 
result is anything but melodious. The noise on the 
Noche Buena itself is dreadful, and it is quite hopeless 
to expect any sleep, as the people spend the whole 
night in the streets singing and playing. In the 
morning the market is one of the great sights ; and 
the crowds of people who come in from the country 
make it very animated. The streets are all blocked up 
with stalls, on which are sold dulces of every descrip- 
tion, and the most common little toys with figures 
of Virgins and saints, with which to ornament the 
nacimientos . 

These nacimientos are representations of the Nativity, 
the grotto of Bethlehem with the Virgin and Child, 
and kings and shepherds, and cows, and every variety 
of groups of figures and of animals, done up in the 
most tawdry tinsel and finery, and all brilliantly lighted 
up every evening until the new year. Some of them 
in the wealthier houses are very prettily arranged, 



while others — for they have them in every house — are of 
course of the commonest description. In the evening 
we went to a supper, given to the old people and 
children, at the Mendicity Institution. It was admir- 
ably arranged. The children, very neatly dressed, 
were seated at two long tables, between which the 
bishop, attended by some of his clergy, walked up 
and down, and gave them his blessing before they 
commenced. Each child had its own allowance of four 
small plates containing bacallao, or salt cod, salad, 
sweet potatoes and dulces, with a loaf of bread. They 
seemed well cared for, and looked the very pictures of 
happiness ; but, at the conclusion of the feast, the 
noise was deafening, for when they had finished, they 
each produced a zambomba, or a tambourine, and the 
din soon drove us from the room. We then went to 
see the old people, who were dining below. They also 
looked very clean and happy. There was a nacimiento 
at one end of the room very brilliantly got up — the 
crowd round the Virgin and Child represented as 
playing on the zambomba. 

From the supper we went to midnight mass at 
the cathedral, which was splendidly lighted, but so 
crowded it was impossible to get near the high 
altar. The music disappointed me, and the congre- 
gation, with the exception of those kneeling near the 
railings, did not seem animated with much devotional 
feeling — the side aisles appearing more like a fashion- 
able promenade, than the scene of a great religious 

On St. Anthony's day, the 17th of January, the 
people all go out into the country, taking with them 
refreshments, and spend the day scattered in groups 
along the shore and up the beds of the torrents. Some 
dance to the tune of the lively bolera, while others are 



playing on the guitar and singing the monotonous 
rondena. The groups thus formed are very picturesque, 
and on these occasions the men still appear in their 
Andalucian costume. 

The rides in the mountains round Malaga are very 
wild and lonely. You wend your way up the beds of 
torrents ; the mountains rising on either side, at times 
narrowing into a gloomy gorge, and again opening 
out upon some vine-clad valley, with here and there a 
solitary farm house. They are rarely inhabited by 
their owners, for Spaniards have an instinctive dread 
of robbers, and would not consider it safe to reside so 
far away from a town. Some few years ago the ladies 
of one of the wealthy families in Malaga, who ventured 
to pass a few months at their hacienda, found them- 
selves attacked one day by a gang of bandits, and 
would probably have been carried off to the mountains 
and held to ransom, had not the master of the house 
fortunately arrived, just at the moment, on horseback. 
An accident saved the party ; the robbers fired at him, 
as he approached, and, the frightened horse jumping 
over a wall, threw his rider, when the robbers seeing 
him fall, fancied they had killed him, and decamped 
immediately. But these incidents are few and far 
between, and the traveller may generally ride through 
every nook and corner of the mountains, unarmed, 
without any fear of robbers, as we did the whole winter 
we were at Malaga. Every peasant you meet has his 
musket on his shoulder, or slung from his* saddle ; but 
it is for his own self-defence, and as he passes you he 
touches his hat, and gives you the passing valediction, 
" Vaya V con Dios," — " May you go with God," with 
a courtesy and civility which make you feel you arc 
among friends. Generally speaking the weapon is as 
harmless as the owner, for guns will not go off without 



locks, and of these there is a charming deficiency. It is 
seldom, however, except in the frequented paths, that 
you meet with a human being. An oppressive feeling 
of loneliness overpowers you as you wander through 
the mountains. All seems so silent, so deserted ; no 
singing of birds to relieve the stillness around ; only 
now and then the tinkling of the shepherd's bell 
reminds one there is anything animated to disturb the 
- strange tranquillity. The people all live clustered 
together in the villages. There is no scattered agri- 
cultural population. A few families residing here and 
there in the cortijos, or farm houses, immediately in the 
neighbourhood of the towns. 

Many of these cortijos are beautifully situated ; 
sometimes on the side of a precipitous hill, the slopes 
of which are covered with vineyards ; at others on the 
brow of a rocky height, exposed to all the burning heat 
of the sun ; the frames for drying and preparing the 
celebrated Malaga raisins forming conspicuous objects 
near the houses. The grapes are laid upon banks of 
earth enclosed in wooden frames. In the months of 
July and August they do not require more than eight 
or nine days to be converted into raisins, but later in 
the season as much as twenty or twenty-five days are 



The colouring of the mountains is magnificent ; the 
deep red of the soil in many places throwing over them 
the richest tints, more particularly at sunset ; but the 
absence of trees is a sad drawback to Spanish scenery. 
There are very few to be seen for some distance around 
Malaga ; almost the only approach to such a thing 
being the charob tree, the foliage of which is of a rich 
green. It does not grow to any height ; but it is a 
welcome object here, where trees are such a rarity. 
The hedges are generally formed of the aloe and prickly 



pear ; the latter being extensively cultivated for the 
sake of the cochineal, which are fed upon its fleshy 
leaves. This insect was once an important article of 
export from Malaga, but of late the trade in it has 
much diminished. The beds of the torrents are full of 
oleanders, the pink flowers of which in summer bloom 
with the greatest brilliancy. The Flora of Spain is 
extremely rich, and in spring the plains and mountain 
sides are covered with a profusion of wild flowers, but 
their beauty is short-lived ; they soon pass away 
beneath the scorching heat of the sun, and by the end 
of July the whole country becomes parched and arid, 
with scarcely a sign of vegetation. 

The convent of the Angeles is one of the most 
picturesquely situated places in the neighbourhood. 
Owing to the suppression of the convents, it is now 
nothing more than a farm house, but the beautiful 
foliage in the garden makes it most refreshing to the 
eye. It stands at the entrance to a rocky glen, and 
the pines and palm trees which cluster round it make 
it appear quite an oasis in the desert. 

On beyond the Angeles are the Ermitas, where are 
the ruins of several hermitages, charmingly situated, 
surrounded by rocks, out of the crevices of which a count- 
less variety of wild flowers push forth in every direction- 
Hence may be obtained one of the most beautiful birds- 
eye views of the town and surrounding country, with 
the sea beyond. At the foot of the hill the plain 
extends itself towards the town, the whole of which 
may be seen, with its Cathedral, Alcazaba, and 
Gibralfaro, and the mountains stretching on towards 
Velez Malaga. In wandering through the defiles up the 
valley of the Guadalmedina, you come occasionally on 
lofty bridges spanning the ravines, which serve to 
convey water from the mountains to irrigate the fields 



valleys, and running along the mountain sides ; the 
moisture they diffuse around, making their neighbour- 
hood a favourite haunt for wild flowers. Their banks 
and the sides of the bridges are covered with the 
Maiden-hair Fern, which grows here to an enormous 
size ; its graceful fronds, falling in the richest 
luxuriance, mingled with the dark-blue panicles of the 
TracJielium cc&ruleum, called by the country people 
the Widow's Flower, a plant which flourishes in 
all precipitous places where water is constantly trick- 
ling down. 

Towards the end of March we ascended the Cerro de 
San Anton, a peak rising to the height of about 1400 
feet. It forms the highest point of the chain of hills 
which extends along the coast from Malaga to Velez. 
About half way is a large farm house, where we stopped 
to rest — and then climbed to the summit, over rocks 
covered with several varieties of cistus, the beautiful 
blossoms of which give such a charm to this southern 
vegetation. Many low shrubs were scattered about — 
and multitudes of flowers of every hue were growing in 
profusion amongst them. The view from the summit 
embraces a splendid prospect. The coast of Africa 
appeared close to us ; while to the north, hills rise 
above hills, presenting the same rounded appearance, 
peculiar to this calcareous formation, many clothed 
with vineyards to the very summit. 









The last few years Malaga has become a very 
favourite residence for invalids. Its climate, certainly, 
is exceedingly mild and genial ; and the invalid who 
can obtain rooms facing the sun will seldom suffer from 
cold during the winter. There is but little rain : in 
fact, its excessive dryness might be hurtful to some 
constitutions, to which the moister air of Madeira might 
prove more beneficial. It is, however, occasionally 
visited by bitter winds, called the Terral,- which are the 
warmest in summer and coldest in whiter. They blow 
across the plain to the westward of the town, and while 
they prevail, the want of rain makes the dust quite 
insupportable, particularly in the Alameda. A cloud- 



less sky and glowing sun may offer great and deserved 
attractions to the invalid, whose hopes are all centred 
upon climate ; but let no one be tempted to fix on 
Malaga, as a residence, for any other reason. 

Society there is none ; and with the exception of the 
theatre, there are no amusements whatever which could 
contribute to make time pass agreeably, and no objects 
of interest to attract the attention of the traveller. 
"With the exception of Madrid, there is no society 
in Spanish towns, in our acceptation of the word. 

People go to the theatre every evening, and some- 
times visit each other in their boxes ; but never receive 
at home except their intimate friends or relations. 
Even the carnival does not rouse them. At Malaga 
no notice of it seemed to be taken beyond one or two 
masked balls at the Lyceo and at the theatre. The 
former was more select ; and, doubtless, amusing 
enough, in the by-play of the masquerade, to all those 
conversant with the " ins and outs " of the assembly. 
Many of the ladies went unmasked, in ball-dresses. 
Though a southern race, they do not appear to have 
any genius for the peculiar spirit of the masque, as 
seen in Italy. The ball at the theatre was deadly- 
lively ; no one danced, not even the masks ; and it 
seemed as though the people were sitting in their boxes 
merely to be looked at. 

The tourist in visiting Andalucia may spare himself 
the unnecessary trouble of taking with him letters of 
introduction ; except such as relate to matters of 
business. It is true, when he does present them, 
nothing can be more polite and engaging than his 
reception. He is met with a profuse generosity, or 
rather prodigality, which to the uninitiated is positively 
distressing. Everything is his, " a su disposicion" but 
in most cases they are mere words of course, and there 



it ends. Not that the Spaniard is really inhospitable ; 
bnt it is not the custom to entertain. Formerly, I am 
told, it was otherwise ; but continued civil wars, and 
the unsettled state of society which resulted from them, 
have broken up social intercourse. These remarks, 
however, do not apply to the English settled in 
Andalucia ; whatever other customs of their adopted 
country they may assume, that is one which they seem 
to consider "more honoured in the breach than the 

What is seen of Spaniards is very much limited to 
morning visits ; and of all dreadful things to undergo is 
the first visit in a Spanish house. A most important pre- 
liminary is the toilette : the richer it is, the greater the 
compliment. Formerly evening dresses were considered 
indispensable ; but this custom is now gone out. 
Dressing accomplished, you sally forth, and reaching the 
house, ring at the door, which seems to open by some 
inscrutable means, for no attendant is visible ; but on 
looking round the open court or patio, in which .you 
now find yourself, you discover the dumb porter to be a 
cord attached to the door, and acting through a window 
in the floor above, through which you see a head 
protruded awaiting your commands. You ask whether 
the lady is at home ; upon being answered in the 
affirmative, you look round for some servant to usher 
you into the drawing-room, but you look in vain. You 
have no alternative but to trust to your own guidance, 
and ascending the staircase you find yourself in a large 
corridor running round the patio, out of which several 
rooms open. You see one door which looks more 
promising than the rest ; you enter, and find yourself 
in sudden darkness. A little time enables you to see, 
through the twilight of half-closed shutters, a hand- 
some room with a stately sofa at one end, a most 



uncomfortable looking arm-chair on each side of it, and 
chairs and tables ranged in due order round the walls ; 
looking the very picture of stifTness and formality. A 
minute or two elapses and the lady of the house enters : 
she makes her fair visitor take the place of honour on 
her right hand on the sofa, while the gentlemen place 
themselves at her feet, not in reality, but in words, 
according to the indispensable form of Spanish polite- 
ness. She then begs he will place his hat upon a chair, 
tins article of a gentleman's toilette being treated with 
nearly as much consideration as its owner. And now 
conversation begins, as lively as conversations must be 
among strangers who have not even the delightful and 
never-failing resource of weather to talk about ; for 
what can one say of weather in a country where it is 
always fine. Fortunately your first visit, which is 
looked upon quite as a thing of etiquette, need not last 
long, and you soon rise to take your leave amidst an 
overpowering amount of offers, in which you find the 
house and everything else placed at your disposal — 
a compliment you must return by declaring everything 
you possess is hers ; for in Spain you have a right to do 
what you like with what is not your own, and the hotel 
in which you are staying must be offered as though it 
belonged to you. Absurd as all this strikes the 
stranger, it is, after all, but another way of assuring 
him they will be delighted to see him whenever he likes 
to call, and be happy to assist him in everything he may 
require. The lady of the house always accompanies 
you to the top of the staircase, where a second edition 
of civil speeches is gone through and you descend, 
feeling thankful that so formal an undertaking should 
at length be accomplished. 

All this stiffness, however, soon wears away, and you 
gradually become accustomed to this very independent 



manner of finding your way about a stranger's house ; 
and habit soon teaches you to distinguish the reception- 
room, the folding doors of which are generally open. 
Spaniards never sit in the room in which they receive ; 
in fact, the principle of Spanish visiting seems to be to 
make themselves and their guests as little comfortable 
as possible, from the feeling of formality which always 
prevails. They would consider it a downright insult to 
their visitors to be seen working, or engaged in any- 
thing save ceremonious attention in doing the honours 
of their house. Nothing, however, can be more friendly 
than their manner, and they offer you their house, &c, 
in a way which would make you imagine you could not 
confer a greater favour than by accepting them. 

Stiff, but courteous in their manner to strangers, 
when once you become on intimate terms with them, 
you find them the most unceremonious people in the 
world, and entering into every sort of amusement with 
such a zest that they appear very like over-grown 
children. The women here have, in fact, but little 
conversation, except about the theatre and all the 
on dits of society, concerning which they certainly can 
discourse in a most lively and agreeable manner ; but 
they are thoroughly uneducated. As children, they 
are always running about with the servants ; taking a 
few lessons in music and in French, and keeping as late 
hours as their parents ; but as to having education 
under regular superintendence, such a thing is almost 
unknown. They seem to consider our treatment of 
children as something too barbarous, and are always 
pitying them for the wretched lives they are made 
to lead. 

A knowledge of the language is indispensable to 
enable travellers to get on at all in Spanish society 
in the provinces, for it is very rare to meet any one 



who speaks or can understand French. In fact, I know 
no country in Europe where a knowledge of the national 
language is so necessary to enable the traveller to get 
on among all classes. Save in Granada and Seville, 
there is not even a laquais de place to assist him as to 
what he ought to see, or interpret his wishes. 

Indeed, in all the luxuries to which travellers are 
accustomed in other countries, Spain is sadly deficient. 
In Andalucia the accommodations at the inns are bad, 
and the cookery still worse. At Malaga and Seville, 
the principal hotels have some approach to comfort ; 
but in all the other towns nothing can be worse. No 
one ought to travel in Spain wdio is not prepared to bear 
with oriental resignation whatever may fall to his lot. 

Before leaving Malaga we made an excursion to 
Alhaurin, a village beautifully situated in the moun- 
tains to the west, about four leagues distant. We went 
on horseback — the only pleasant mode of travelling in 
a country wdiere the roads are so intolerable. After a 
monotonous ride across the plain, we reached the 
Guadalhorce, a river taking its rise in the mountains of 
Antequera, and the bed of which really does contain 
water. It is, in fact, a very respectable stream. Here 
are the remains of a large bridge which, like many other 
things in Spain, w r as commenced on a grand scale but 
never finished. The piers, covered with creepers, are in 
a state of most picturesque decay. The arches of the 
aqueduct of which this bridge was to have formed a 
portion stretch some distance along the plain. The 
Sierra de Mijas now gradually interrupts the view of 
the sea, and the valley at its foot as it opens before you 
presents a beautiful picture of verdure and fertility, 
thickly covered with olive farms and orange groves. 
This part of the road many years ago w r as much infested 
with robbers, who, on payment of a certain sum, gave 



the inhabitants of Malaga a regular pass to enable them 
to go backwards and forwards unmolested to their 
country houses in Alhaurin. On emerging from the 
valley, the road crosses over bleak, high ground, 
covered with the low fan palm. This plant, which 
grows to such perfection on the Rock of Gibraltar, is 
rather stunted here ; it is, however, converted to some 
use, the root of it being eaten as an esculent by the 
peasantry. Descending a hill, you arrive at Alhaurin, 
situated on a slope, with a magnificent valley below it, 
reposing in a perfect amphitheatre of mountains. It is 
quite a scene of enchantment ; and shows what 
wonders cultivation can effect in this favoured land 
wherever water is abundant. 

The entire valley is one continued garden, and the 
prevalence of shade, and constant supply of water, 
which gushes noisy and sparkling through a thousand 
channels, facilitate the production of every species of 
fruit. Oranges, lemons, cherries, strawberries, grapes, 
and mulberries, nourish equally well, and enable the 
inhabitants to provide for the markets of Malaga. 
The village itself is remarkably clean, and the houses 
within doors are in keeping with their external appear- 
ance. Just above the town is a nacimiento, or spring, 
whence the water flows as clear as crystal from the 
base of a wall of rocks, which runs along for half a 
league, cutting the arid slope of the Sierra. Above, 
the mountains rise to the height of 3500 feet, their 
barren and sandy sides furrowed by numberless 
ravines. From a small chapel in the neighbourhood, 
the eye takes in the whole chain of mountains beyond 
Malaga, crowned by the snow-capped summits of the 
Sierra Nevada, of which we here obtained a view for 
the first time. We watched the effect of the setting 
sun as it left peak after peak in shadow, until its rays 



lingered on the loftiest point of all, casting a roseate 
line on the glittering snow, and showing well the 
immense height of the Sierra. From Alhanrin we pro- 
ceeded to Coin, and on our route passed some unusually 
line orange trees. Coin is likewise prettily situated, 
surrounded by gardens and rushing waters. In the 
latter village our appearance excited a good deal of 
amusement among the inhabitants, who all turned out 
to see the strangers — rather a novel sight in this out-of- 
the-way place. They paid us the compliment of taking 
us for Uteres, or an equestrian company of strolling 
players ; and one little urchin mounted a horse, and 
accompanied us to the nacimiento above the town, 
showing off his horsemanship, evidently in the hope of 
being engaged as one of the troop. He offered to follow 
us to the world's end, horse and all, if we would have 
him ; the fact of walking off with his father's horse not 
appearing to lie heavily upon his conscience. Here, 
too, the water springs from a sandy bed deliciously 
fresh and clear. To the west is the village of Munda, 
the scene of the celebrated battle of Monda, in which 
Caesar defeated the sons of Pompey, a.d. 45. 

Retui'ning to Alhaurin, we started on our way back 
to Malaga. On the southern slope of the Sierra de 
Mijas, facing the latter town, is Churriano, a favourite 
summer resort of the Malaguenians. Near it is a villa 
called the Retiro, belonging to the Conde de Villacayar. 
It contains some very pretty fountains ; but the great 
rarity of water and of shady walks in this treeless land 
makes the natives exalt it into a fair rival of Versailles. 
The fields round it, planted with olives, as old, they say, 
as the conquest, appeared one sheet of snow, from the 
quantities of the large white iris with which they 
were covered. 

At the extreme point of the Sierra is the small 



village of Torre Molinos, where, as well as at Churriano, 
most of the bread consumed at Malaga is made. Nothing 
can exceed the cleanliness of the houses here. The 
stream which flows through keeps several mills at 
work. The greatest care is bestowed upon the corn 
preparatory to grinding. It is carefully washed in 
running water, and dried again in the sun several times 
before it is consigned to the mill. A man of the name 
of Parody has a very pretty villa here, at which 
strangers can make arrangements to stay ; and it 
certainly is a desirable place at which to spend a little 
time during the spring or summer months. 

From Torre Molinos to Malaga, the road crosses the 
Guadalhorce by a ford, and you ride over a large sandy 
tract, covered with the yellow flowers of the Ononis. 
The fields are irrigated by enormous water wheels, 
having jars attached to their circumference, which, as 
they are moved slowly round by oxen or mules, draw 
up the water from the wells below, and turn it over 
into channels, whence it is distributed through the 
country. They are the very counterpart of the Egyptian 
Sahayeh, and are one among the many things which 
remind the traveller of the long dominion of the Arabs, 
and give such an eastern character to Andalucia. 

The time having now arrived for leaving Malaga, we 
determined on riding to Granada, instead of taking the 
diligence, which goes through Loja, performing the 
journey in about eighteen hours. We left Malaga in 
the afternoon ; the ride to Velez not occupying more 
than five or six hours. Our road lay along the coast 
the whole way ; now stretching along the sandy shores, 
now rounding some jutting bluff, its atalaya, or old 
Moorish watch-tower perched, crumbling and weather- 
beaten, on the summit. To the right, the blue waters 
of the Mediterranean lay extended to the horizon, and 



on the left rose the low chain which rims between 
Malaga and Velez, covered with vines, while the inter- 
mediate plain was one carpet of flowers of every 
hue. We left the first week in April, when the vegeta- 
tion on the sea-coast is in all its vigour, and as we 
approached Velez Malaga, the fertility and richness 
increased. We passed between gigantic hedges of 
cactus and aloes, among which our own common 
blackberry was growing in singular contrast, while 
through the whole a sort of pitcher-plant, the Aris- 
tolochia Boetica, with its dark purplish flowers twined 
round and round in every direction. The wild aloe 
covered the rocks in thick tufts, with its large pendulous 
yellow flowers just coming into bloom ; and here and 
there a beautiful statice, called the Blue Everlasting, 
from the crispness of its bright flowers, which do not 
fade. These in very Cockney fashion are much used in 
Gibraltar to ornament the fire-places during the 
summer months. 

Large fields of sugar-cane occupy the rich valley 
which stretches for about half a league from the town 
of Velez *to the sea-shore, through which a small stream 
winds, shaded by the silver poplar. The view of the 
valley which we obtained as we surmounted a precipi- 
tous rock, jutting out into the sea, was very beautiful, 
as it lay steeped in the richest verdure, and backed by 
the range of the Sierra Tejeda, which was still partially 
covered with snow. 

The town of Velez stands on the slope of this chain, 
which preserves it effectually from the cold north 
winds. Its ruined castle, standing on a craggy rock, 
occupies a striking position in the centre of the town. 
We put up at a posada on the Alameda, a raised walk 
planted with orange-trees, and had our first experience 
of Spanish inns. This was not so very bad, as we had 



clean beds, although the cookery was, as usual, not 
much to be commended. 

In the morning, we walked up to the old castle, of 
which only one small tower and some ruined walls 
remain. It commands a splendid view over the fertile 
Vega and the Mediterranean beyond. 

A Moorish legend tells that the present is not the 
original site of the town of Velez. In the days of 
Almanzor, the town was governed by a Moorish prince, 
who had an only daughter, renowned for her beauty, 
and on whom he lavished all his treasures. He built 
for her, on the verdant slopes of the Sierra, a magnificent 
palace, where she resided. It happened, that the Alcalde 
of Velez, inflamed with the glowing descriptions he was 
continually hearing of her charms, determined to avail 
himself of her father's temporary absence, and carry her 
off. He succeeded in doing so ; but most fatal were 
the results which followed his treachery. Scarcely had 
intelligence of the outrage reached her father's ears, 
when inarching to Velez at the head of such troops as 
he could hastily gather, he assaulted and carried the 
town. The Alcalde and all his family were massacred, 
and the castle and town razed to the ground. The 
wretched inhabitants soon began to rebuild ; but the 
calamitous spot was shunned, and the new foundations 
were laid on the site of the present town. Velez bears 
for arms the figure of a king on horseback slaying the 
Moors, with a groom lying dead at his feet. They were 
given in commemoration of Ferdinand having performed 
the feat of killing with his own hand a Moor in a 
skirmish during the siege. El Zagal having been 
defeated in a nocturnal attack he made upon the 
Christian army, the inhabitants resolved to surrender. 
They obtained, however, an honourable capitulation, 
and the city was taken possession of by Ferdinand, who 


advanced immediately after with his whole army to lay 
siege to Malaga. 

From Velez the road winds up along the river, and 
enters the valleys and mountain passes. It skirts along 
by numerous orange groves, which at this season were 
just coming into flower, and diffusing around a delicious 
perfume. We passed several picturesque points of 
view before we came to a wretched village called 
Vifiuelas, after which the aspect of the country gradually 
changed. The richly cultivated valleys gave place to 
more barren scenery ; to the right rose the arid slopes 
of the Tejeda, with several villages perched along the 
heights, and the sides furrowed with numerous ravines, 
channels worn, as it were, by devastating torrents in 
the sandy soil. Before us towered a vast wall of rock, 
through a wide fissure in which we had to pass to reach 
the high lands on the northern side of the mountain. 
This pass is called the Puerta de Zaffaraya, derived 
from an Arabic word, meaning, the field of the shep- 
herds. There is here a Venta, or village inn, by the 
wayside, which presented, as we rode by, a gayer 
appearance than we could have looked for in so wild 
and desolate a situation. A number of peasants, and 
a family of gipsies, had just arrived down the mountain 
road, and as they grouped around the entrance of the 
old tumble-down house, their gay and varied costume, 
the trappings of the mules and horses, the gesticulations 
of the owners, all afforded us a scene exceedingly 
animated and picturesque. 

The road now began gradually to ascend, but we had 
not proceeded far, when a thick mist came rolling down 
from the mountains and completely enveloped us. 
Night was likewise coming on, so we deemed it more 
prudent to return to Zaffaraya, and put up there for 

the night. When we again arrived, there was no 

D 2 



appearance of life or animation about the place ; the 
peasants had all departed, and everything around 
looked dark and lonely. The house itself consisted of 
one long room with its mud floor ; a partition separated 
us from the horses ; while our guides and ourselves 
shared the remainder with the owners of the house. 
Such were the accommodations we enjoyed in passing 
our first night in a regular venta ; and yet, as we 
gathered round the fire, and partook of the provisions 
which the guides had unpacked, and chatted with our 
companions, the novelty of the scene would have more 
than balanced its privations, were it not that a feeling 
of insecurity crept upon our minds. Nothing certainly 
could be more unpromising or more forbidding than 
the aspect of the place ; and the suspicion, that it 
was little better than a haunt of contrabandistas and 
robbers, was more than sanctioned by the old woman 
who kept it informing me she had two sons, who 
were both at Ceuta, the fortress to which many of 
the Spanish convicts of the worst grade were sent. 
Wrapped in our manias, we slept through the night as 
best we could ; and none of us were sorry when the 
dawn of day gave us notice we might prepare for our 
departure. It was still drizzling rain, but the morning 
cleared up after we had been about an hour on the 
road. We crossed a flat high-land where corn was 
growing under the shade of evergreen oaks, which, 
scattered here and there, gave it quite a park-like 

Passing over a mountain-path, the distant range of 
the Sierra Nevada soon burst upon our view, one wall 
of snow. The northern sides of the Tejeda were still 
covered with their wintry mantle. Nothing could 
exceed the dreariness of the ride for the two hours 
which elapsed before reaching Alhama. There was 



nought to relieve the monotony of the scene, save the 
agreeable reflections suggested by the sight of the 
small low crosses, with their heaps of stones beside 
them, telling of the lonely wayfarers who have fallen 
victims to robbers in these mountain fastnesses. " Aqui 
mataron" — here they slew so and so — is always the 
commencement of the inscription, the name and date 
following, with an adjuration to the passers-by to pray 
for his soul. Mournfully they strike upon the mind in 
these lonely and deserted paths, where, far from all 
human assistance, the unhappy victim fell beneath the 
knife of his murderer. But these sad mementos need 
not alarm the traveller much : in these days one must 
be peculiarly unfortunate to fall into the hands of 
banditti ; and even if such a fate should by ill-luck 
attend him, his captors would find it more profitable 
to carry him off to the mountains, until they obtained 
a heavy ransom, than put hini out of the way and 
give his friends the trouble of erecting a cross over 
his remains. 

I was much disappointed at the first view of 
Alhama. The houses appear the same colour as the 
soil on which they stand, and coming down upon it 
from the high grounds, it is impossible to form any 
idea of its singular situation. It stands on the edge 
of one of those rents in the mountains, which form a 
very striking feature in the scenery of Andalucia ; and 
it must have been in former days an almost impreg- 
nable fortress. From the valley beneath, it is seen to 
most advantage. The rocks, which form the sides of 
the gorge, rise almost perpendicularly from the bed 
of the river gliding at their feet ; while above their 
beetling crests, appears an uneven line of houses, built 
on the very verge of the precipice. On the mountain 
side, it was defended by a long line of walls and 



towers. Its tortuous and narrow streets still retain 
a very Oriental appearance. Some distance up the 
river are the sulphureous warm baths, from which its 
Arabic name is derived. 

Alhama is familiar to the English reader from the 
description of its famous surprise by the Christians, 
and Byron's translation of the well-known ballad, 
which speaks of the excitement caused in Granada 
when the news of this unlooked-for assault reached the 
Moslem capital. This event was the more remarkable, 
as the place was the first taken during the war which 
ended with the extermination of the Moors from the 
Peninsula. The Marquis of Cadiz, assembling some of 
his followers, attacked Alhama in the dead of night, 
and after a desperate resistance, succeeded in taking it. 
The loss of this important port, long considered one of 
the keys of the kingdom of Granada, spread conster- 
nation among the Moors. Muley Hacen, rousing 
himself, flew to wrest it from the conquerors. The few 
who were within the fortress were sorely pressed, and 
many a chivalrous deed was performed in attempting 
to relieve them. This was at length accomplished by 
the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who, forgetting the feuds 
which had long subsisted between his house and that 
of Ponce de Leon, went out at the head of the flower 
of the Andalucian chivalry, and throwing himself into 
Alhama, Muley Hacen was compelled to raise the 
siege. He returned, however, shortly afterwards ; but 
losing some of his bravest warriors in a midnight 
assault, was again compelled to retreat. Still, from its 
being situated in the heart of the enemy's country, 
Alhama was considered dangerous and difficult to 
retain, and discussions were raised as to the propriety 
of dismantling its fortifications and evacuating it. But 
when the idea was suggested to Isabella, she indig- 


nantly rejected it, aud resolved on keeping a fortress 
the acquisition of which had cost so much blood. This 
resolution led to the appearance of a new hero on the 
stage. Alhama, as had been anticipated, was not 
allowed to enjoy repose, and a third time the Moorish 
troops lay encamped before it. On this occasion, 
however, it owed its safety, not to the great houses of 
Medina Sidonia or Ponce de Leon, but to the courageous 
efforts of a humble squire, Fernando del Pulgar, the 
Bayard of Spanish chivalry, who here commenced that 
daring and romantic career which won him the desig- 
nation of " El de las Hazanas" — He of the Exploits. 
The deeds related of this preux chevalier during the 
continuance of the war, from his relief of Alhama and 
taking of Salar, to his grand achievement of entering 
Granada while still in possession of the Moors, and 
planting with his dagger an inscription on the door of 
the Mosque, dedicating it thenceforth to the honour of 
the Virgin, exceed almost the bounds of credence, and 
have generally been ascribed to the exaggerations of 
the ballad poetry. But a very interesting little work — 
the " Life of Pulgar" — has recently been published by 
Martinez de la Rosa, in which that distinguished writer 
shows, from authentic sources, that they are no exag- 
gerations, and that Pulgar was not only the hero of 
every hair-brained adventure during the war, but that 
he was also an accomplished scholar, as profound and 
sagacious in council as he was reckless in the field, and 
was frequently selected by the wily Ferdinand to 
conduct affairs requiring the greatest prudence and 
judgment. We may have occasion to refer to him 
again in describing the Cathedral of Granada, where 
he is the only subject who has had the honour of being 
interred within its precincts. 

Nothing can be more wearying than the road from 



Alhama to the Vega of Granada. For the greater 
part of the way, clayey, barren mountain sides alone 
meet the eye, save here and there, where tufts of rose- 
mary and other aromatic plants spring up, and a few 
corn-fields show some feeble attempts at cultivation. 
The monotony was slightly relieved by the village of 
Cacin, situated in a deep valley, with a few trees 
clustered along the banks of a rivulet. Passing this, 
we ascended again, and continued over a similar 
dreary road, until we reached half a dozen miserable 
houses called the Ventas de Guelma. The road now 
crossed a treeless plain, one sheet of waving com, 
without however any trace of population. It took us 
about two hours to reach La Mala, a wretched village 
surrounded by large salt-pits ; the low range of 
hills separating it from the Vega of Granada being 
chiefly composed of gypsum, highly impregnated with 

We rode up in haste to the brow of the lull before us, 
each anxious to obtain the first view of Granada ; and 
glorious indeed it was, for the setting sun was just 
gilding the distant towers of the Alhambra, and the 
queenly city rose before us, with her girdle of moun- 
tains, while the Vega was spread out as a verdant 
carpet at her feet. There can be few prospects more 
enchanting than this ; the fertile plain, extending for 
about thirty miles in length, seemed a very Paradise, 
after the dreary country we had been traversing. It 
looked like the bed of a lake, from which the waters 
had receded, leaving a vast plain of the richest verdure, 
encircled by lofty mountains. The eye wandered over 
every variety of undulating ground. From the low 
mounds on which we were standing, it swept round to 
the left — over hills, gradually rising in height, until 
they broke into the precipitous cliffs of Alfacar, which, 



from this distance, appeared close behind the town ; 
while to our right rose the long chain of the Sierra 
Nevada, its alpine heights at this season one mass of 

The natural beauty of its situation, combined with all 
the thousand historic recollections which crowd round 
the very name of Granada, render this one of the 
most striking scenes which can be presented to the 

The Arabs, whose thoughts were constantly recurring 
to the land from which they sprang, awarded the palm 
of beauty to Granada over their favourite cities of 
Damascus, Cairo, and Bagdad ; and as they loved to 
trace in the land of their adoption every possible 
similarity to the country they had left, they settled 
themselves in those scenes which recalled their own 
homes most vividly to their recollection. The wild 
hordes from the deserts of Palmyra were satisfied with 
the arid coasts of Almeria and the plains of Murcia. 
The legions from the hilly country of Palestine and 
Syria found a resemblance to their native mountains 
in the fastnesses of the Serrania of Honda. The 
fields of Archidona were peopled by those who had 
pastured their flocks in the valley of the Jordan ; but 
the inhabitants of Damascus could find nothing to 
remind them of the Paradise they had quitted until 
they beheld Granada. 

Here their willing fancies soon traced a resemblance 
to the home of their childhood ; the Sierra Nevada 
recalled the snowy summits of the Lebanon ; the city 
stood like their own on the edge of a fertile plain, 
while the Darro, Xenil, and other streams, rivalled the 
rivers of Damascus in the abundance of their waters ; 
countless gardens and orchards covered the Vega 
as in their own rich and smiling valley ; the sky 



was as bright, and the air as pure ; and they settled 
themselves with rapture in a land they loved to call 
the Damascus of the west. And it was not difficult for 
their warm imaginations to discover this resemblance. 
From some of the slopes of the Sierra Nevada it has 
often struck me very forcibly; with this difference, 
however, that while the Vega of Granada is enclosed on 
every side by mountains, the cultivated lands around 
Damascus lose themselves in the sand of the desert, 
one arid boundless plain stretching far away to the 

The sun had set ; and our guides reminded us we 
had yet some distance to go before we reached the city, 
on which we were gazing with so much admiration. 
We accordingly descended the hill, and reached Gabia 
la Grande, a large village on the margin of the Vega. 
We now entered upon a wide road, with fields of corn 
and hemp on each side, interspersed with orchard >. 
intersected by streams of water in every direction. 
Two hours' ride across the Vega brought us to Granada. 
It was night long before we reached it : but there was 
a certain charm in the darkness ; for, as we approached, 
the precipitous hills before us seemed illuminated with 
countless stars, and as we entered by the Alameda of 
the Xenil, the noise of rushing waters, the deep 
shadows of the trees, with the lights scattered 
amongst them, gave it an undefined fairy-like appear- 
ance which left upon the mind the most agreeable 
impressions. Under other circumstances, trees and 
water might not conjure up scenes of such rare 
beauty ; but any one who has resided sis months at 
Malaga may be excused for the unwonted degree of 
pleasure they excited. 

We stopped at the Fonda de la Amistad, an hotel 
near the theatre. After duly visiting the Alhambra 



w e devoted ourselves to house-hunting, having come to 
Granada with the intention of remaining there five or 
six months. There are many houses to be had in the 
t<nvn itself ; for, unfortunately, the higher classes are 
fast deserting it for the superior charms offered by the 
Corte, as the Spaniards designate Madrid. But we 
were anxious to get a house near the Alhambra, that 
we might have the advantage of a garden, and the 
splendid views which every elevated point presents. 
This we found no easy matter to effect ; the Carmenes, 
as they call the villas around Granada, being generally 
very wretched houses, their owners keeping them up less 
as residences, than as places of amusement, where they 
can retire from the town to pass a refreshing day 
during the heat of summer. 

They are almost all surrounded by large gardens full 
of long vine-walks and cooled by fountains. We went 
over several ; but found it difficult to meet with one 
which was suitable. Either the house was not 
sufficiently large, or the owners did not choose to let 
it ; and we were soon taught that patience is a virtue 
which must be practised when dealing with Spaniards. 
Like the Orientals, they see no reason why people 
should be in a hurry ; to-morrow for them answers all 
the purposes of to-day. What with arrangements and 
diplomatic transactions with people who did not wish 
it to be known they could degrade themselves by 
letting their houses, — time passed away ; and when we 
did find ourselves settled, a whole month had 
elapsed since our arrival. Altogether we had an 
amusing insight into the way things may be managed 
in this country. One Carmen we went to see, the owner 
would not dispose of it ; but the man who showed it 
to us, intimated that he knew a person to w^hose sister 
the owner of the house was very devoted, and if we 



promised him something for his trouble, he would, 
through his friend, induce the young lady to persuade 
the owner to let us have it. But this Carmen, it 
might truly be said, was not to be had for either 
love or money, for the negotiation proved a complete 

At length we obtained a most charming villa, the 
smallness of the house being amply compensated for 
by the beauty of the situation. It was, of course, 
unfurnished, but buying or hiring furniture for a 
summer residence in these countries is not a very 
serious undertaking, for, in such a climate, so little is 

The situation was quite enchanting : on the 
extremity of the southern spur of the hill on which the 
Alhambra stands. It commanded the whole country, 
from the Pass of Moclin on the right, to the Sierra 
Nevada on the left, embracing the Vega with its 
encircling hills. We had a vine-covered terrace, where 
we spent our days shaded by the luxuriant foliage, 
and refreshed by the sound of running water from 
numerous fountains, while the rich clustering grapes 
hung thick above our heads. It was a lovely spot 
from which to view the glorious landscape, bathed in all 
the brilliant hues of the setting sun as he sank 
behind the Sierra Elvira, clothing the mountains in a 
purple garb, and shedding a flood of golden light upon 
the plain. At moonlight it possessed a charm different, 
yet as great. Then, the Torre de la Vela stood out like 
a giant watching over the sleeping city below, ready 
with its deep-toned bell to give alarm, if danger should 
arise : but all now sleeps in peace, and its toll only 
serves to rouse the weary peasant, and warn him that the 
hour has arrived to attend to the irrigation of his 
fields. The large fires, which cover the Vega in the 



months of July and August, had a remarkably striking 
effect from our garden. The peasants here burn the 
long stubble of the wheat, for the purpose of growing a 
second crop, chiefly of Indian corn, which they get in 
about November, and on a dark night the flames burn 
clear and steadily, the whole country appearing as on 

A steep walk covered with vines, and ascended by 
steps along the terraces, led us to the foot of the 
Torres Bermejas, whose walls formed the boundary of 
our garden, — according to all' accounts, the Vermilion 
Tower is the oldest portion of the Alhambra ; some 
maintaining it to be of Phoenician origin, a source to 
which everything is ascribed that can boast of great 
antiquity, or whose history is at all obscure. Called 
vermilion from the peculiar colour of the tapia and 
brick of which it is composed ; it was built by the first 
Arabs, and served to keep in subjection the Christian 
inhabitants, to whom they assigned this district — now 
the parish of Saint Cecilius — as a quarter to reside in. 
The view from the top is perhaps the least pleasing 
about Granada ; the roofs of the houses in the city 
below forming too prominent a feature. Here were the 
dungeons of the Christian captives, — gloomy dens, where 
many an unhappy wretch pined away long years of 
misery. All of them had not, alas ! the good fortune of 
two Catalonian knights, who, being taken prisoners 
in the capture of Almeria, under Alfonso VII., were 
thrown into these dungeons. An enormous ransom 
was demanded for them, and amongst other articles 
specified, were a hundred Christian damsels ; but as 
the latter, it is said, were preparing to leave Tarragona, 
they were relieved from all fears as to their unhappy 
destiny, by the appearance of the knights themselves, 
who had been miraculously transported thither by 



St. Stephen and St. Dionysius, to whom they had 
appealed in the hour of danger. 

Many a tale of love and sorrow might be gathered 
from the legends connected with these old walls ; but 
there is nothing romantic about them now. One day, 
when I was on the roof of the tower, I overheard — not 
the lament of some captive knight — but the more 
matter-of-fact confession of a Gibraltar courier, who 
had decoyed thither two unhappy Englishmen, and was 
confiding to the old keeper of the tower, that he knew 
there was nothing to see there, but he always made a 
point of bringing travellers, that she, too, might 
benefit by their pesetas ; and with many a prayer that 
he would not forget her, and many a promise in 
return, he led away his admiring victims, who, in the 
innocence of their hearts, had been " doing " the view, 
while their ignorance of the language rendered them 
quite unconscious of the bye-plot which was acted in 
their presence. 

The wretched huts around are chiefly inhabited by 
gipsies, and people of the lowest description ; but 
although we could not boast of a very select neighbour- 
hood, we never had any reason to repent of haying 
taken up our abode in the Carmen, in defiance of 
the assurances we received from many persons in the 
town that we should be inevitably robbed and 
murdered if we did so. We used to be out at all 
hours, both late and early, and pass through the 
shady walks of the Alhambra at night, without 
ever meeting with the least annoyance ; although 
travellers still persist in repeating the stories of 
the guides in the town, who love to frighten them 
by tales of the insecurity of these gloomy walks, 
and maintain it is not safe to pass through them 
after dark. 



In short, a more charming place than this for a 
summer residence, it would be difficult to select ; and 
its vicinity to the Alhambra enabled us to enjoy the 
latter without the fatigue of ascending to it from the 



Obra del Orieute solo 
Y <le moriscos artifices, 
Que hacen palacios dc piedra 
Como el eneaje sutiles. 
Trabajo de aqucllos manos 
Que para que el mundo admire. 
Nos dejarou una Alhambra 
Del Darro en la orilla humildc. 
La Alhambra ante quicn Europa 
Ya desenganada dice : — 

" No fu<5 dc barbaros raza 
La que alzd el Generalife." 





The Alhambra ! The palace-fortress of the Moors ! 
there is a magic in the name which fills the imagination 
with the memories of the past. Poets have sung of it ; 
painters have transferred its every stone to their 
canvas ; travellers have described it in the most 



glowing language, and yet, there are few who could feel 
disappointment on seeing it — few, at least, of those who 
are really capable of appreciating the Beautiful in 
Nature and in Art, 

Exquisite as is the interior of the Moorish portion, 
the exterior seems to me to have even greater charms. 
Its crimson towers, crowning the heights, assume an 
ever-varying outline, according to the direction from 
which they are viewed. Standing on the last spur of a 
chain of mountains, whose snow-crowned heights rise 
9000 feet behind, it looks down proudly on the Vega 
and the City at its feet. The most perfect view is to 
be obtained from a small esplanade in front of the 
Church of San Nicolas, on the opposite hill of the 

Here, from an equal height, you see it across the 
valley of the Darro, as it stretches out its long lines of 
walls and towers, enclosing in their wide embrace the 
most singular remains of the past, and most striking 
evidences of changing dynasties and creeds. The fairy 
halls of luxurious Caliphs — the stately palace of an 
Emperor — the Mosque — the Church — the frowning 
keep of the turbaned Moor — the convent of the cowled 
Monk, all he before you, to an extent, and with a diver- 
sity of historic association, that render it rather a city 
in miniature, than a fortress. Here, too, the surrounding- 
scenery lends its most effective aid to make the whole 
a picture unsurpassed in beauty. The entire chain of 
the Sierra Nevada immediately behind, with its snowy 
summits, and its sides broken into precipitous ravines ; 
to the left, the white colonnades and miradors of the 
Generalife, a summer retreat of the Moor, perched high 
up among the verdant slopes of the Silla del Moro. 
Before you, sweeping round the edge of the vast 

* See Frontispiece. 




terrace which it covers, tower after tower of the 
Alhambra appears — the tower of the Infantas — of the 
Picos — with its ancient bearded, battlements, the crum- 
bling walls of the Casa Sanchez, the slight but elegant pro- 
portions of the Tocador as, fragile-looking, it hangs over 
the ravine, linked by a light and airy colonnade to the 
massive tower of Comares ; behind them the clustering 
roofs of the Moorish Palace, concealing, as is common 
with buildings of Eastern origin, beneath a plain and 
simple exterior, scenes of magic beauty and enchant- 
ment, fit abode for that luxurious court whose oriental 
barbarism was softened and yet dignified by constant 
intercourse with the knightly virtues of the Christian. 
The red walls, supported by buttresses, rim on to the 
right, connecting the strong tower of Comares with the 
still loftier towers of the Alcazaba, which formed more 
especially the fortress. In the open space between, rises 
the palace of Charles V., whose grand unbroken outline 
presents from a distance a very imposing appearance, 
however much, from within the walls, it must be felt to 
be incongruous and out of place. The towers of the 
Alcazaba, itself an extensive citadel with gates and 
court-yards, terminate with the loftiest of all, the Torre 
de la Vela, which stands at the Western extremity 
commanding the whole country around. Beyond, and 
seemingly a part of it, the crimson walls of the Torres 
Bermejas form also a portion of the scene. From 
the base of the Vela, the hill falls abruptly into the 
town, which winds through the valley of the Darro, 
and spreads along the border to the Vega, where the 
eye may wander at large over a sea of verdure. 

A more varied and splendid view can hardly be 
imagined ; and gorgeous it is at sunset, when the walls 
glow with a crimson light, and the snows of the Sierra 
are tinged with roseate hues. The rich deep tone of 



colouring which pervades the Alhambra itself, the 
bright green of the trees which girdle it, the deep 
shadows of the valleys, the glorious lights of the distant 
mountains, all present a picture, which, both hi form and 
colour, stands unsurpassed. 

When the Gothic kingdom fell in 714, Granada, then 
inhabited by Jews, was a small town dependent on 
the great city of Elvira, which lay in the Vega at the 
foot of the Sierra of that name. Taken possession of by 
the Arabs from Damascus, who settled here when their 
countless tribes dispersed themselves through the 
Peninsula, its strong position and advantageous 
situation soon obtained for it a preference over Elvira, 
and Granada rose into importance as rapidly as the 
other declined. In the reign of the first Abdurrahman, 
A.D. 765, the Alcazaba, or fortress of the Albaycin, was 

The country, distracted by internal dissensions, was 
in a state of constant agitation while the Caliphs ruled 
in Cordoba, until the reign of the third Abdurrahman, 
beneath whose sway, and that of his son, the whole land 
was blessed with peace, and the Arab dominion in the 
Peninsula attained the zenith of its glory. But intestine 
war would seem inseparable from the Moslem system. 
Struggles for the succession soon again broke out, and 
the dangerous expedient was sometimes adopted by the 
rival claimants, of bringing over from Africa numerous 
hordes to their assistance. Thus Granada received a 
formidable addition to its population in the warlike 
tribe of the Zeyrites, wmo had aided in placing Suley- 
man on the throne, and who were rewarded with the 
lordship of this territory. Their chief established him- 
self in the Alcazaba, already mentioned, to which he 
made considerable additions, the quarter of the town in 
which it stands being still called the Barrio del Zeirite. 

K 2 



Four chiefs of this tribe (the last of whom, Ibn Habiis, 
surrounded the city with walls) ruled over Granada, and 
had become almost independent sovereigns, when, on 
the close of the Umeyyah dynasty in 1031, the Arab 
empire was broken up into petty kingdoms. The 
Almoravides, who had come over from Africa to assist 
their Moslem brethren, finally subdued them, and 
Yusuf, their leader, seized upon Granada, A.D., 1090. 
He remained there some time, and greatly improved the 
city, as well as the irrigation of the country around, 
bringing water from the great fountain of Alfacar and 
other distant springs. The Almoravides were subdued 
(1148) by the Almohades, another African tribe, whose 
empire in turn was crushed on the fields of Tolosa (1212), 
a success of the Christian arms which was speedily 
followed by the victories of St. Ferdinand. The taking 
of Baza drove the inhabitants for shelter to Granada, 
and the quarter, which was assigned them, is from them 
called the Al-baicin. While Ferdinand was pro- 
secuting his victories, two competitors were disputing 
for the Moslem sway ; but at length the death of Ibn 
Hud left Ibnu-l-ahmar without a rival, and establishing 
his court at Granada, he founded (1238) this the last of 
the Moorish kingdoms, which expired in 1492. 

Mohammed Ibnu-l-ahmar was one of the greatest 
of the Mohammedan sovereigns. His valour in the field, 
his wisdom in council, his taste in the encouragement of 
Art, his energy and merciful disposition, won for him 
even the admiration of his foes. To him the Alhambra 
ows its origin. His peaceful hours were occupied in its 
erection ; and the Torre de la Vela, the towers of the 
Alcazaba or fortress portion, and the splendid Hall of 
the Ambassadors in the Tower of Comares, with its 
Court of Myrtles, attest his magnificence. His grand- 
son, Mohammed III., though engaged constantly in 



sn ars, added much to the adornment of Granada ; and 
the great Mosque of the Alhambra, which stood on the 
site of the present Church of Santa Maria, was built by 
him. In the reign of Ismail, the last of the direct line 
of Ibnu-l-ahmar, occurred the famous battle of Elvira 
(1319), in which the Infantas, Don Pedro and Don Juan 
of Castile, were slain, and the Christian arms sustained 
a terrible defeat. The body of the latter was carried to 
the Alhambra, and treated with all honour, and was 
finally sent under a strong escort to Cordoba to be 
delivered up to his father. Encouraged by this victory 
Ismail followed it up by many other successes. He 
attacked and took Martos ; but having carried off a 
Christian damsel, whose life had been saved by the son 
of the Moorish Governor of Algesiras, he raised an enemy 
whose revenge proved fatal to him. On his return 
to Granada, the injured lover, with a few other con- 
spirators, attacked and murdered him in the very halls 
of the Alhambra. 

His second son, Yusuf, was a worthy successor to the 
great Ibnu-l-ahmar. He sought in the blessings of 
tranquillity the welfare of his people, and devoted himself 
to the embellishment of his capital. He built the great 
Mosque in the city, the Gate of Justice which forms so 
worthy an entrance to the Alhambra, the fairy court of 
Lions, the Hall of the Two Sisters, the Hall of the 
Abencerrages, and the luxurious baths. These magni- 
ficent works, as well as many others erected by him, 
led the people to consider him as an alchymist, who 
converted all he touched into gold. He established a 
university, and encouraged arts and sciences. His 
example was followed by the nobles of Granada, who 
adorned their houses with courts and fountains, and 
covered the walls with elegant arabesques, "until 
Granada," says an Arab historian, " shone like a silver 



vase set with emeralds and precious stones/' He made 
admirable laws for the administration of justice and 
observance of public order. His beneficent reign was 
terminated by a madman, who stabbed him as he was 
leaving the Mosque. His descendants rapidly succeeded 
each other in the usual course of dethronement or 
assassination, their eternal strifes but giving additional 
strength to their ever watchful enemy, and hastening 
their own downfall. Mohammed Ibn Othman succeeded 
in 1455, and his reign, like the rest, was one constant 
scene of war and bloodshed. Driven to abdicate he 
closed his reign by the massacre of the chiefs opposed 
to him in that Court of the Lions which seemed built 
but for pleasure and enjoyment. This massacre is 
supposed, by some historians, to be the one of which the 
Abencerrages were the victims — a deed of bloodshed 
which has generally been ascribed to a later sovereign, 
but the true account of which seems enveloped in much 
obscurity. Civil wars and family feuds produced their 
necessary results. City after city were taken by the 
Christians, until, in the reign of Abn Abdillah, better 
known as Boabdil, the victorious arms of Ferdinand 
and Isabella planted in 1492 the standard of the Cross 
on the towers of the Alhambra, and the Moslem 
dominion in the Peninsula was finally overthrown, after 
a duration of over 700 years. 

Although the kingdom of Granada was small, 
compared with that over which the Caliphs of Cordol >a 
had formerly ruled, its sovereigns might look on it with 
pride. Within its boundary it possessed every natural 
advantage. Its mountains, plains, and sea-coasts were 
covered with a dense population, who, by their industry 
and love of agriculture, made the country appear one 
vast garden. The Court of Granada glittered with all 
the voluptuous magnificence of eastern potentates, and 


the sovereigns of Castile might have envied the 
splendour of her palaces. The numerous harbours 
that indented her coasts were filled with the commerce 
of the east, and wealth poured in from every quarter. 
Her bazaars were full of the richest silks, which formed 
the principal exports of Malaga and Almeria. Litera- 
ture was cultivated, and the sciences studied with 
diligence and success. Her aristocracy was composed 
of some of the noblest of the Eastern tribes, and their 
bravery and chivalrous character shone to advantage 
even beside the Ponce de Leons, Cordobas and 
Manriques. Many a generous and knightly deed of 
high-bred courtesy is recorded of them : and yet they 
and their people passed away as though they had been 
but transitory dwellers, mere aliens, in the land. Repre- 
sentatives of another race and another creed, they 
stood isolated from the nations around them, who were 
only bent on their extermination ; and their own 
domestic feuds and dissensions effectually seconded 
the desires of their enemies. 

But with the downfall of the Crescent ends the great- 
ness of Granada. The sun of courtly favour seemed to 
shine upon her for a time in the reign of Charles V. ; 
but the gleam was transitory, and passed away : and 
Granada has sunk into a mere provincial town. The 
Moor who loved her was taken from her ; and now she 
sits lonely in her widowhood, pointing to the Alhambra, 
all she now possesses, to convince the wanderer from 
other lands, that the story of her past greatness is no 
idle tale. 

To give a minute account of the Alhambra, which has 
been so often and so eloquently described, seems worse 
than a twice-told tale. The poetic fancy, and oriental 
imagery of Washington Irving, and the more accurate 
and elaborate details of Mr. Ford, have rendered it 



familiar to the majority of readers ; and yet it is not 
possible, in writing of Granada, to omit some descrip- 
tion of what constitutes its most striking feature and 
principal attraction. 

We have already viewed it from the hill of the 
Albaycin, and there obtained a general impression of 
the exterior. Before ascending to it, it may be well to 
refer to the relative position of the ground which it 
occupies. Of the numerous streams which the neigh- 
bouring mountains send down to the plain, the 
principal are the Xenil and the Darro. These, though 
wide asunder at their sources, gradually approach, until, 
for more than a league before they reach the Vega, 
they run westward through two valleys of great beauty, 
divided by a long single ridge called the Cerro del Sol. At 
the termination of the hill they unite their waters, and 
flow together across the open plain. It is here — at the 
junction of these streams — at the entrance of these 
valleys, — on the margin of the Vega, that the city of 
Granada is happily situated. The Cerro del Sol does 
not continue the same elevation quite to its extremity. 
Before reaching Granada at a point called the Silla del 
Moro, it slopes downward for a little, and then spreads 
out into two table-lands or terraces of considerable 
extent, with a narrow and thickly planted valley 
between them, falling gently to the town. On the 
higher slopes is situated the Generalife, — on the 
northern terrace stands the Alhambra, with the Darro 
flowing below ; on the other the Torres Bermejas, and 
the remains of the convent of the Martires ; and up 
the gentle acclivity between are the shady avenues 
and paseos that lead to the Alhambra. 

In ascending from the town, you proceed from the 
Plaza Nueva, up a street called the Calle de Gomeles, 
so called from an African tribe of that name : at the 



end of this street you reach a wretched specimen of 
architecture, an imitation of a Moorish gateway, built 
in the reign of Charles V., where the town ends, and 
the precincts of the fortress begin. High above you, 
on the left, is the Torre de la Vela, — on the right the 
Torres Bermejas ; and in front, a wide avenue, in the 
deepest shade, and admirably kept, leads by a gradual 
succession of slopes to the terraces above. By a shorter 
but more precipitous approach you may ascend the 
wooded bank upon the left ; and proceed at once to the 
principal entrance, — the Gate of Justice. A magnificent 
horse-shoe arch, nearly forty feet in height, admits you 
into a square tower of massive proportions. A few feet 
within is an inner and smaller arch of similar design, 
protected by wooden gates cased in iron, while the in- 
termediate space in the roof above is open for purposes 
of defence and greater security. On the key-stone of the 
outer arch is engraved a gigantic hand, with a portion 
of the arm ; and on the inner is traced the form of a 
key. Many and fanciful have been the interpretations 
given to these two emblems ; but the hand is now 
generally considered to have been a talisman against 
the evil eye, and all descriptions of witchcraft ; while 
the key represented the power conferred on Mohammed 
of closing the gates of heaven. The device of a key 
was common on the banners of the Moors in Andalucia. 
Tradition, however, tells that they had a saying that 
the towers of the Alhambra would stand, till the hand 
and key were united. Over the key, the Azulejo-work 
has been broken through, and a niche formed to receive 
a statue of the Virgin, an unsuitable and inappropriate 
site for such a shrine. 

The passage through the tower turns at right angles 
to make it more difficult of access. A road between 
high Avails leads into a large open square, called the 



Plaza de los Algibes. On entering it, to the right 
is a small tower, the Puerta del Vino, supposed by 
some to have been a mihrab or small chapel, but 
which, with more probability, seems to have been the 
inner gate, through whose double and highly-finished 
arches admission was given to the citadel within. 

The Plaza de los Algibes is so called from its surface 
covering two large reservoirs which receive the waters 
of the Darro. They are each about 125 feet long and 
25 broad. The water is much esteemed by many for 
its freshness and quality. In the corner of the Plaza 
is a draw-well, by means of which it is raised. In 
summer a wide awning is here erected, beneath which 
crowds of idlers lounge away the day, and noisy 
aguadors are ever replenishing their jars to supply 
the thirsty town below. 

To the left of the Plaza rise the lofty towers of the 
Alcazaba or fortress of the Alhambra ; and to the 
right the huge structure which Charles V. erected 
on the ruins of the winter palace of the Moors, 
with money wrung from that most cruelly treated 
portion of his subjects. 

Coming to Granada after his marriage with Isabel 
of Portugal, he became enraptured with the glorious 
situation of the Alhambra, and gave orders for the 
erection of a palace which should outshine the faiiy 
courts beside it. The Moors having been compelled 
to pay down 80,000 ducats to exempt themselves 
from the rigorous laws which Charles had enacted 
forbidding them to wear their costume, etc., he devoted 
part of the amount to the carrying out of his favourite 
plan. The execution of it was confided to Pedro 
Machuca, who having studied in Italy, was one of the 
first to introduce the Italian or Grreco-Roniano style of 
architecture into Spain. The structure consists of a 



large square of 240 feet, of which two sides are richly 
ornamented, as well as a portion of the others. The 
whole building is very heavy, and overloaded with 
ornament. A large circular patio forms the interior, 
supported by a double row of columns, one above the 
other, and looks more fit for a bull-ring than a kingly 
residence, being out of all proportion to the building, 
and leaving only a narrow space between it and the 
outer walls for a few rooms. Want of funds or royal 
caprice seems to have prevented its completion, it never 
having been roofed, and still remaining a mere shell. 
The entire edifice is quite out of keeping with the 
Moslem citadel in which it stands. Elsewhere it 
inio-ht have been entitled to admiration, but here it 
only injures the beauty of the whole by its strange 
incongruity. Monopolising the scene, the traveller 
looks in vain for any signs of that Moorish palace 
of which he has heard so much, and can hardly repress 
a feeling of disappointment when he finds that he 
has to pass through a small gateway almost hidden 
under the shadow of this enormous pile, to arrive at 
the object of his search. The simplicity of the exterior 
of the Moorish palace is not, however, out of keeping 
with the character of its architecture. In the principal 
houses of Damascus, a poor exterior encloses courts 
and halls worthy of the descriptions in the " Arabian 
Nights' Entertainments." Constructed only for the 
enjoyment of the inmates, they are designed rather to 
ward off than allure the admiration of the passers-by. 
The lofty rooms, with but few windows, exclude the 
heat and light of day, and open into inner courts, 
where waters ever flowing from marble fountains 
refresh and cool the air. The mean exterior only 
renders more striking the gorgeousness within ; and 
so also in the Alhambra : when the small gateway 



alluded to is opened, the scene which bursts upon the 
traveller's view, enchants and surprises, by its contrast 
with that on which he has just been gazing. 

Instead of being surrounded by massive walls, he finds 
himself in courts of small and delicate proportions. 
The very size is disappointing ; the whole seems like 
an architectural plaything ; but it soon captivates 
by its elegance. The countless patterns which form 
the lace-like tracery on the walls — the slender columns 
which cluster round the courts — the exquisite work of 
the ceilings, all speak of the poetic temperament and 
voluptuous habits of those who dwelt there. And 
thus, the Alhambra presents the very type of the 
people who erected it ; stern and formidable for strife 
without, soft and effeminate in peace within ; it 
breathes the spirit of the warlike, though pleasure- 
loving and indolent followers of Mohammed. 

The court into which you first enter is called the 
Patio de los Array anes (Court of the Myrtles). It 
is about 140 feet long by 80 wide ; a large pond, set 
in the marble pavement, occupies the centre, along 
the sides of which are carefully trimmed hedges of 
myrtle, while small fountains sprinkle their cooling 
waters around. At the end nearest the door 
which gives admittance, a colonnade of two stories 
runs along, under which was the principal entrance 
to the palace, now all blocked up by the massive 
walls of the adjoining building. At the opposite 
end, passing under a similar colonnade, you cross 
an elegant lofty corridor into the Hall of the 
Ambassadors, which occupies the Tower of Comares. 
In the wall on either side, as you enter, are two small 
niches for placing the slippers. The room, which is of 
large and beautiful proportions — a square of 37 feet — 
is lighted by nine windows, three pierced in each of 



the projecting sides of the tower, midway between the 
floor and summit of the dome-like roof, which rises 
over 70 feet above ; and directly beneath them, on a 
level with the floor, corresponding windows open out 
under arches, through the vast thickness of the walls, 
upon balconies overhanging the Darro, and presenting 
on every side the most splendid views. The walls are 
covered with that elaborate fret-work in stucco, in 
which the Moors excelled, and scrolls of Arabic 
character everywhere meet the eye, expressive of the 
glory of God and the vanity of human things. The 
dome above is formed of minute pieces of carved wood, 
tinted of various dyes, and admirably wrought together. 
The floor, now of coarse tiles, was once of marble, with 
a fountain in the centre ; and above this floor, for 
several feet, the walls are faced with azulejos, or 
painted tiles, in endless variety of pattern and hue. 
It was in this hall that the Moslem kings gave 
audience and held their state receptions. 

From the Hall of the Ambassadors proceeding 
through a dark passage on the right, whose walled-up 
pillars have converted into a gloomy corridor what 
was once an airy colonnade, you issue forth upon an 
open gallery sustained by delicate marble columns, 
which conducts to a small square tower, whose diminu- 
tive proportions are in striking contrast with the 
massive pile of Comares. It is commonly called the 
Tocador, or dressing-room of the Queen, rather an 
al fresco situation for such an apartment, and derives 
the epithet, it is said, from the purposes for which it 
was subsequently rather than originally designed. 

Overhanging the valley of the Darro, its sides all 
open to the enchanting scenery around, there appears 
something sublime in the idea of selecting such a spot 
for prayer and religious meditation. Here the Moorish 



kings had their mihrab or private oratory ; here 
they worshipped God, in the midst of a temple of 
which He alone conld be the architect. Fallen into 
decay after the conquest, it was partly restored by 
the Emperor, and on the visit of Philip V. to 
Granada, was fitted up as a dressing-room for the 
Queen and painted in fresco in the Italian style. 
Beneath the Arabic inscriptions, appropriate to its 
original design, are delineated towns and sea-ports, 
water-nymphs and sirens, the achievements of Phaeton 
and the Cardinal Virtues, all, according to Spanish 
authority, " de buen gusto." 

From the tocador, a suite of modernised rooms, with 
heavy wooden ceilings, covered with the " Plus ultra " 
of Charles V. — that eternal motto which meets the 
eye everywhere — leads into the beautiful apartment 
called the Mirador de Lindaraja. The profusion 
of ornament bestowed here is perfectly astonishing, 
and it is equally surprising how the beauty of the 
general design is increased, not marred, by the elabo- 
rate minuteness of the details. From an alcove, the 
walls of which shine with azulejos, and attract and 
delight the eye with the most delicate traceries, the 
double arches of a Moorish window look out upon a 
marble fountain, sparkling amidst orange trees and 
myrtles ; whilst within, the view embraces a vista to 
which the pencil alone could do justice. Before you, 
the Sala de las dos Hermanas, with its lofty dome- 
shaped roof, suspending in studied and most skilful 
confusion pendulous fret-work, as graceful as stalactites, 
and reflecting the same prismatic hues — its polished 
marble floor — its walls of arabesques, its lofty arches, 
opening out upon the Court of the Lions, through 
whose graceful columns is visible the corresponding 
and equally splendid Hall of the Abencerrages. 


The long perspective of the receding arches, the infinite 
variety of lines and colours, all flowing and blending 
into each other, and the character of luxurious elegance 
which pervades the entire, impress the beholder with 
feelings of the liveliest pleasure and unbounded 
admiration of the taste and skill, that with such simple 
materials, could produce effects so beautiful. At 
regular distances along the walls of the Sala de las 
dos Hermanas and the centre-points from which 
radiate the complicated tracery, are inserted golden 
shields, on which in an azure bend is inscribed the 
motto of Ibnu-l-ahmar, " God alone is the conqueror 
In all the principal halls and apartments of the palace, 
this shield is everywhere to be seen. 

Passing into the Court of the Lions the whole of this 
far-famed patio now lies before you. A graceful 
colonnade of Moorish arches, supported by 128 columns 
of white marble, 11 ft. in height, surrounds a court 
116 ft. by 66 ft. At each extremity, a pavilion of light 
and elegant design projects into the patio, sustained 
by groupings of columns linked together by arches of 
more elaborate workmanship than those at the sides, 
presenting the stalactitic and coloured ornaments that 
characterise the hall through which we passed. The 
pavement beneath them is of polished marble, and jets 
of water in the midst lend additional lightness to the 
scene. In the centre of the court, the large fountain, 
from which it takes its name, deserves to be noticed, 
rather for its celebrity than its beauty. Supported by 
twelve lions, whose pigmy forms appear inadequate to 
the weight, it is too heavy in design to harmonise 
with the aerial architecture around, and the animals 
themselves, more like cats than the monarchs of the 
forest, afford a striking instance of the failure of the 
Moslem sculptor, when he ventured to transgress the 



mandate of his prophet. Formerly, all the space 
within the court was a garden ; but it was discovered 
that the water with which it was irrigated, was 
gradually undermining the foundations, and the plants 
have been all removed and a tiled pavement is being 

The constant intercourse with the Christians modified 
in many respects the manners of the Mahommedans, 
and the lions are not the only violation here of the law 
prohibiting the representation of living things. Off the 
corridor at the eastern end, are three apartments very 
highly finished, but now neglected, the ceilings of which 
are ornamented with paintings, the colours still fresh 
and brilliant. The centre one is painted on a golden 
ground, and represents a divan with ten Moors seated 
in judgment ; whence the room is called the Sala del 
Tribunal. Those on each side pourtray various romantic 
incidents ; combats, ladies in the power of magicians, 
and other subjects of the age of chivalry. Ascribed 
by some to native, by others to Christian artists, they 
bear evident signs of having been executed in the 
infancy of art ; and the knights on horseback, as tall 
as the towers of the Alhambra itself, exhibit about the 
same correct ideas of perspective, as are to be found 
in the old pictures in Froissart's Chronicles and the 
illuminations of the earlier manuscripts. 

Standing in the Court of the Lions, the spectator is 
astonished at the fragile appearance of the structure 
around him. The slightest shock would seem sufficient 
to destroy it ; and yet nearly five hundred years have 
passed since those slender columns and those delicate 
traceries were first exposed to the vicissitudes of time. 
It is, however, now fast decaying, and the numerous 
iron bars, which have lately been clumsily inserted 
across from arch to arch, though they may retard the 



ruin, sadly impair the charm of effect. The Alhambra 
might still be preserved in almost its pristine beauty, if 
adequate skill and a spirit of liberality were brought to 
bear upon a work, the success of which would redound 
so much to the honour of the Spanish people ; but the 
restorations, instead of being entrusted to first-rate 
artisans, are more economically done by convicts, who 
destroy more than they preserve, and the clanking of 
whose chains by no means enhances the enjoyment of 
the scene. 

On the side of the court, opposite to the Hall of the 
Two Sisters, a few steps lead up to the beautiful Sala de 
los Abencerrages, whose dreadful massacre is supposed 
to have taken place at the fountain which occupies the 
centre of the room. With implicit faith does the guide 
show the traveller the small side door, out of which 
they came, one by one, to receive the fatal stroke, and 
points to the blood-stained mark which still attests the 
tragedy. It would be a labour equally vain and thank- 
less for criticism to pronounce such tales fictitious, and 
prove that the horrors of the fountain, and the tender 
legend of the Cypress of the Generalife, existed only in 
the romantic pages of Hyta. We cherish errors which 
amuse or fascinate ; and who would be undeceived in 
such a scene ? Of nearly similar proportions and 
design to the opposite Sala, it is unnecessary to refer 
to its details. The pendulous groinings of its sparkling 
dome, the lace-like walls, the arched alcoves, all are of 
equal finish and of equal beauty. Returning into the 
Court of the Lions, you issue out under the western 
pavilion, and find yourself again in the Court of 
Myrtles, opposite to the gate by which you entered, 
having thus completed the circuit of the Moorish 

Beautiful at all hours of the day, it is still more 



lovely when seen by moonlight. When all is still and 
silent, when no sound disturbs the almost overpowering 
tranquillity of the scene, the imagination may indulge 
its fancies unrestrained, and people these courts once 
more with their former inmates. When the bright 
moonlight glances on the fairy columns, the ravages of 
time, the barbarous alterations of the Christian sove- 
reigns, the modern changes which impair what still 
survives, all merge in the deep dark shadows which 
conceal the sad realities that dispel the visions of the 
past. Nothing is seen but the beautiful outline of the 
whole, appearing rather the work of genii than of men, 
and looking as if the slightest breath would make it 
vanish. This is the time, when memory unbidden 
recalls the old ballads, and conjures up visions of the 
actors and the scenes of Moorish story. 

Then, too, is the moment to enjoy the view, looking 
down from the windows of the Tower of Comares upon 
the tranquil city, with its countless lights glittering in 
the darkness ; a lower sky, shining as it were, in rivalry 
of the one above — the " cielo bajo," as the Spaniards 
call it. We may gaze upon it in its mysterious shadows 
until, forgetful of the present, we expect to hear the 
gentle murmur sounding from minaret to minaret, 
" There is but one God, and Mahommed is his Prophet." 
But our dream is soon dispelled, the bells from numer- 
ous churches break on the stilness of the night, and 
the loud watch-cry of " Ave Maria Purissima," recalls 
the struggles of the Catholic against the enemy of his 
faith ; and although the imagination is deprived of so 
rich a source of poetry and romance, still in our hearts 
we rejoice in the triumph of the Christian arms, and 
sympathise with those who endured so much to plant 
the Standard of the Cross on the towers of the 



Having now seen the interior of the Moorish palace, 
we may wander through the remainder of the vast 
enclosure which stands within the walls. Returning to 
the Plaza de los Algibes, we cross the square to the 
Alcazaba, which occupies the extremity of the terrace 
and overhangs the town. Through a wall of great 
height and thickness, guarded by three massive towers, 
now almost in ruin, we enter by an old mouldering 
gateway into an extensive courtyard, filled with weeds 
and rubbish. To the right are two small inner yards 
and towers, which are still kept in habitable repair, and 
serve as prisons for convicts, who crowd the place, and 
are employed in any works which may be going on 
within the walls. In front, lofty and conspicuous, rises 
the Torre de la Vela, the principal tower of the Alham- 
bra, on the summit of which the Conde de Tendilla first 
waved the banner of Castile, when he took possession 
of Granada in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella, 
the 2nd of January, 1492. Above the long inscription 
which records the event, a large bell is suspended, which 
rings at stated intervals during the night, giving notice 
to the husbandmen in the Vega of the hours as they 
pass, and when in turn they may open the sluices for 
the irrigation of their fields. 

The view from this tower is one of the finest in 
Granada. Looking eastward, in the foreground are the 
red crumbling walls of the Alcazaba ; beyond, the 
various structures of the Alhambra, backed by the rich 
foliage and white colonnades of the Generalife, above 
which rises the brown crest of the Silla del Moro, now 
deserted and uncultivated, though formerly covered 
with palaces and gardens. Below the Silla del Moro, 
on the opposite side of the ravine through which flows 
the Darro, are seen, embowered in trees, the large 
buildings of the Monte Sacro, a college which still 

F 2 



preserves its possessions, notwithstanding the modem 
confiscations which have swept away all monastic 
property. The ronnded barren hills, forming the other 
side of the valley, gradually descend towards the town, 
the church of San Miguel el Alto presenting a striking 
object on one of the summits immediately above the 
Albaycin, which rises opposite to the Alhambra, sur- 
mounted by the still frowning ruins of its rival fortress. 
In the distance, bounding the horizon, the eye wanders 
in succession over a vast amphitheatre ; the rocky 
height of Moclin overhanging its mountain-pass, the 
loftier summit of Parapanda, the Sierra of Monte Frio, 
and the gorge of Loja, where the Genii issues forth on 
its way to unite its waters with those of the Guadal- 
quiver ; the long range connecting these with the Sierra 
Tejeda, which rises 6000 feet behind Alhama ; the 
undulating hills which cluster round the spot where 
tradition tells that the last king of Granada bade 
farewell to the paradise he was leaving ; the mountains 
behind Padul, which gradually expand to the gigantic 
proportions of the Picacho de Veleta, whose snowy out- 
line is relieved by the brown and rugged peaks of the 
lower hills, and these again by the luxuriant verdure 
of the valley of the Genii. Within this boundary of 
mountains lies the Vega, dotted over with villages and 
farm-houses ; covered thick with olive-yards and 
waving fields of corn and hemp ; while a marked 
streak of foliage stretching across it denotes the course 
of the Genii. Santa Fe, La Zubia, Alhendin, are all 
historic names ; each spot of ground has been bedewed 
with the blood of contending armies. In front of 
Parapanda, and standing out from the hills in the back- 
ground, rise the bold volcanic peaks of the Sierra 
Elvira, the site of the ancient city of Illiberis, and the 
scene of many a hard-fought contest. A little beyond 



is the bridge of Pinos, where Columbus was overtaken 
1 »y the messenger of Isabella, when, in disgust with the 
delays and disappointments he experienced from the 
wavering conduct of the cautious Ferdinand, he was 
proceeding to offer to some other monarch the glory 
and the profit of his inspired projects. And still 
further on, is the plain of Soto de Roma, the gift of 
the Spanish nation to Wellington. At your feet, on 
one side are the winding streets, and squares, and 
churches of Granada ; on the other, the groves of 
the Alhambra, and beyond them the remains of the 
ruined convent of the Martires. Wherever the eye 
wanders, the scene is ever varying and ever beautiful. 
The ramparts beneath the Torre de la Vela have been 
laid out in gardens, and in them there are some 
magnificent old vines. Here also grows a tall cypress, 
which forms, from every direction around, a most con- 
spicuous object, being visible high above the walls from 
every point from which the Alhambra can be viewed. 

Leaving the Alcazaba, and proceeding along the side 
of the square by which you entered, you pass a hideous 
house, more nearly resembling a Methodist chapel than 
anything else, winch has just been erected close to the 
Puerta del Vino on one of the finest sites in the place 
— an admirable specimen of modern Spanish taste. 
Passing by the southern front of Charles the Fifth's 
palace, and leaving on your right hand the gate which 
has been erected as a carriage entrance, you find your- 
self in a labyrinth of squalid wretched-looking houses, 
now occupying the locality where once stood the 
splendid residences of the officers and household of the 
Moorish sovereigns. From here, following the circle of 
the walls, you pass in succession the ruins of the towers 
which were blown up by the French in 1812. One of 
these is the so called Siete Suelos, through a gate in 



which (ever since closed up) is said to have 
gone forth to surrender his capital and kingdom. The 
remaining towers, skirting the ravine which separates 
the Alhambra from the gardens of the Generalife, still 
present traces of their former splendour. The Torre de 
las Infantas, with its beautiful arches and arabesque 
ornaments, is now blackened with smoke and the 
squalid habits of the poor families who have been 
allowed to live there ; so also, with the towers del 
Candil, de las Cautivas, and de los Picos, whose 
richly fretted walls and windows, thick with dust, and 
covered with wretched little prints of saints and 
martyrs, present a melancholy contrast between their 
past and present destiny. The paths too to these 
towers are in keeping with their condition ; the cactus 
and the aloe choke up the way, the vines twine their 
branches over the crumbling walls, along which the ivy 
creeps in wild luxuriance, and all around is ruin and 

Before leaving the Alhambra through the Puerto, de 
Hierro, a gate at the foot of the Torre del Pico, 
which leads down the ravine, if we return towards 
the Casa Real, we pass a house belonging to a family 
named Teruel, which bears many traces of Arabian 
architecture. The views from the windows over- 
hanging the Darro are perfectly enchanting. In this 
quarter are several large gardens which occupy a 
considerable space within the walls ; and here also is a 
small Alameda, close to the Santa Maria de la 
Alhambra, an edifice still used as the parish church. 
The convent of San Francisco is now converted into a 
storehouse and magazine by the military authorities. 
It was built by Tendilla, the first governor of the 
Alhambra ; and here were laid the bodies of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, and of Gonzalvo de Cordoba, before they 



were removed to their final resting-places in the city of 

Such is the Alhambra in the present day ; and being 
such, it is indeed wonderful that the sovereigns of 
Spain should never have established here a summer 
residence. Had they but treasured up and preserved 
the Moorish structure, which might easily have been 
done, they would have had a palace such as no sove- 
reign in Europe possessed — alone in the originality of 
its design, and unequalled for the beauty of its 




j Verdes plautas de Genii, 
Fresca y regalada Vega, 
Dulee recreacion de dainas, 
De los hombres gloria immensa ! 

j Del cielo luciente estrella ! 

j Granada bella ! 

Old Ballad. 






On leaving the Puerta de Hierro, you enter a pictu- 
resque ravine, where the towers just described form a 
perfect study for the painter. A road to the left 
descends precipitously into the valley of the Darro, and 
a small pathway opposite leads to a side entrance of the 
Generalife. The road, however, up the ravine is the 
most attractive : on one side are the old walls covered 
with ivy and wild fig-trees ; on the other, steep banks 



clothed with flowers and foliage ; and at the extremity 
it is spanned by a fine old arch, serving as an aqueduct 
to carry into the Alhambra the waters of the Darro, 
which for this purpose were diverted from their original 
c hannel at a distance of several miles up the valley, 
and thence conducted along the sides of the hills by a 
succession of acequias or watercourses. Passing under 
the Fuent< Pcna, you find yourself at the extremity of 
the great central walk of the Alhambra, and a few 
paces further lead to the principal entrance to the 
Generalife. A long approach through richly cultivated 
orchards conducts to an avenue of cypresses, where the 
trailing vines climb from tree to tree, forming with their 
bright green leaves a beautiful contrast to the dark hue 
of the cypress. 

The Generalife, as it now stands, is of limited extent, 
and the Jittle that does remain has been so barbarously 
whitewashed, that it is difficult to distinguish the lace- 
like ornaments of the stucco, or the delicate inscriptions 
which cover the walls. A long gallery with open arches 
presents a most enchanting view of the country — the 
Alhambra itself forming the principal object in the 
foreground. Built as a place of recreation for the 
Mahonmiedan princes, it seems indeed the very abode 
of love and pleasure. The waters of the Darro rushing 
through the gardens, fountains sparkling amid shrubs 
and flowers, walks and bowers of the deepest shade, 
lofty miradors commanding on every side the loveliest 
prospects — all render it for a summer residence a 
perfect paradise. In the garden behind the modern 
rooms, rises the far-famed cypress already alluded to ; 
but however doubtful the authenticity of the tale 
attached to it, travellers will still continue to deprive it 
of its bark, and carry away their souvenirs of the noble 
Abencerrage and the frail sultana. 



In one of the rooms are preserved some wretched 
pictures, one of which was for some time supposed to 
be that of the Rey chico (Boabdil), but an inscription 
proves it to be that of Aben Hut, one of the Kings of 
Granada, from whom is descended the Marquis of 
Campotejar-Gentili, the present owner of the Generalife. 
The family, however, does not reside here. Having 
become more Italian than Spanish, they live in Genoa, 
while their property is in the hands of an agent or 

A mirador crowns the verdant slopes, and by a side 
door opens out on the Silla del Moro. The summit 
of this hill is a mass of ruins, the remains of the 
fortifications erected and afterwards blown up by the 
French. Barren and desolate, it now produces but a 
few ears of stunted corn, where once the skill and 
labour of the Moor made gardens bloom. Here 
were the summer Palace of Daiiarocca, and the 
far-famed Alijares, alluded to in the well-known 
ballad in which John II. is described as seeking 
information of the beauties of Granada, when he lay 
encamped with his troops at the foot of Elvira. 
Several large stone reservoirs and excavations of vast 
depth attest how these hills were once irrigated, but 
they are now dried up, and all is waste ; for in this 
country, where water fails, the earth soon becomes 
a desert. 

Proceeding along the side of the hill by a path 
skirting the orchards of the Generalife, you come in 
view of the Cemetery of Granada ; and mournful and 
desolate it appears with the wild Sierra rising around 
it. A large wall encloses a perfect wilderness of tombs, 
arranged in most admired disorder, without one single 
flower or shrub to evince some care or sympathy 
between the living and the last resting-place of the 



dead. It looks cold and heartless, suiting well with a 
peculiar shade in the character of a people, who seem 
to have less feeling of affection and respect for the 
remains of the dead than any other nation perhaps in 
the world. Having passed many hours drawing on 
the road to the Cemetery, I had many opportunities of 
seeing their funeral processions, and I must confess 
that the manner in which they are generally conducted 
inspired me with sentiments of disgust and horror. 
The clergy, as well as the friends and relatives, seldom 
accompany the remains beyond the precincts of the 
town. The funeral mass and service having been per- 
formed in the church, they generally separate, and a 
few common or hired men with torches in their hands 
convey the body to its destination. It is borne along 
with the face uncovered. Round the heads of young 
girls, wreaths of flowers are twined, and children under 
seven years of age have bunches of Everlastings, or as 
they call them here " the Flower of Death " (Flor de 
la Muerte), placed hi their hands. After death they 
are laid out in great state, and in their best and richest 
dresses, in a room, on the ground floor, which is all 
hung with black : a temporary altar is arranged, and 
numbers of lights are placed around the body : the 
windows are thrown open, and every one may look in 
through the reja as he passes. How strangely the 
Spaniards view those things the following anecdote will 
show, which was related to me by one who was present 
at the scene. A young lady, who was dying of decline, 
received, according to the usual custom, a visit from all 
her friends, that they might take leave of her ; and the 
conversation turned upon the dress she was to wear, 
when her body was to he in state. Amongst other 
things, she said, she did not like the idea of being laid 
out in a room on the ground floor, it was so damp in 



winter. " Never mind" — said her father, with the most 
serious face imaginable — " we will put a brasero in the 
room, and it will be well aired." Formerly both men 
and women used to be dressed in the habit of some 
religious order, whichever they preferred when dying, 
but since the suppression of the monastic orders this 
custom is no longer in practice. The body, duly 
arranged, is placed in an open shell, and carried to the 
cemetery : the ghastly burden often knocking to and 
fro with the unseemly haste with which it is borne ; 
while the jest and laughter and unceasing conversation 
of those accompanying it show with how little feeling 
of religious awe the presence of the dead in spues them. 
Sometimes they will even place it on the ground to 
rest, and having lighted their cigars take it up again 
and continue their pilgrimage. Before the grave is 
closed, whether the bodies be placed in niches in the 
walls or in the ground, quicklime is always thrown 
over those even of the wealthiest, and when, some 
years afterwards, those places are again opened for 
a similar purpose, a few calcined bones alone are found 
remaining of their former occupants. 

Although the remains of the dead are not treated 
here with that respect and solemnity to which we are 
accustomed, the Andalucians are very particular in all 
the etiquette and outward forms of mourning. After 
the death of a relative, they receive, for nine days, the 
condoling visits of their friends. Dressed in deep 
mourning, it was usual for the family to sit and 
discourse on the virtues of the deceased, and give to 
their visitors, as they entered, the details of the 
melancholy event : but this custom, like many old 
Spanish habits, is gradually going out. The nearest 
relatives are giving up receiving at these duelos, being 
represented by some friend or distant relative ; and 



now, it is the etiquette neither to look very wretched 
nor introduce painful topics of conversation ; so those 
meetings have become rather a lively reunion for the 
discussion of the news and gossip of the day. On the 
anniversary of the death of any wealthy person, they 
celebrate what are called the Honras. A catafalque is 
erected in the centre of the church, all hung with black 
and magnificently lighted, and a long service is 
performed, to which all the friends and relatives are 

Returning to the Paseos or walks of the Alhambra, 
a road to the left leads to the southern terrace, called 
the Campo de los Martires, the grounds of which were 
formerly in the possession of the Carmelite monks. 
Here a small hermitage was erected to commemorate 
the spot where the keys of the city were delivered to 
the Conde de Tenclilla ; and afterwards, a monastery 
was built upon the site. The buildings have all been 
destroyed, and the lands now belong to a lay proprietor. 
A handsome aqueduct on arches, conveying the water 
for irrigation, runs through the grounds, which boast of 
a most singular and beautiful tree, a species of Cypress, 
said to be the only one of the kind in Europe. The 
slopes of this hill are covered with carmenes, surrounded 
by gardens. 

The word " gardens," as spoken of here, must not 
convey to the reader's mind those ideas of beauty and 
cultivation, such as they might be supposed in an 
almost tropical climate to possess, filled with varieties 
of exquisite shrubs and flowers. They are badly culti- 
vated and badly kept, and have flowers only of the 
most common description, such as would hardly obtain 
admission into an English cottage garden. Their own 
natural fruit-trees, the vine, the fig, and pomegranate, 
lend to them their chief attraction ; and although they 



often bloom with a profusion of roses, yet it is rather 
from the superabundant richness of the soil, than from 
any care or culture bestowed on them. It is true that 
a showy flower is always highly prized as an ornament 
for the hair, and there is no lack of flower-pots in the 
balconies, where the carnation, the cactus, and their 
favourite Flor del Moro (as the Granadinos call a 
beautiful scarlet mesembryanthemum, which in the 
sunlight is perfectly dazzling) receive a due supply of 
water ; but as a people, they have no idea of floricul- 
ture, nor taste, nor interest about it, nor the slightest 
appreciation for the beauties of Nature, as that expres- 
sion is generally understood. Shut up in their towns, 
they have never lived in, and never yet learned to enjoy 
the charms of the country. As to any enthusiasm 
about beautiful views, or undergoing any fatigue or 
trouble in their pursuit, such nonsensical things are 
classed among the other eccentric fancies of the very 
mad English. A person drawing for the mere love of 
art is hardly considered in his senses. I have often 
been asked, for how much I would sell my drawings, 
and when I replied they were merely done for amuse- 
ment, a smile of mingled incredulity and pity convinced 
me I was esteemed not over wise or candid : and upon 
one occasion in the Court of the Lions, while copying 
the arabesques, some inquisitive visitors came to the con- 
clusion that I was painting new patterns for fans ! 
Beneath such a sun, and with the abundance of water 
which here there is always at command, a gardener of 
skill and taste might convert the grounds around these 
villas into an earthly paradise. They are seldom 
occupied by their owners, who only pay them an 
occasional visit, merely to spend the evening ; and are 
generally let to persons who make a handsome profit 
by selling the strawberries and other fruit. The 



occupants are extremely civil and obliging, and when- 
ever I have gone into a carmen to ask leave to draw, 
I have been always received with the greatest warmth 
and courtesy. 

The Andalucians are a light-hearted, happy people ; 
nor can they well be otherwise in a climate where 
poverty is divested of half its horrors. Compared with 
the position of many of our own peasantry, how 
different is the life of the poorest here — how trifling 
his sufferings ! Content with bread and fruit, an 
abundant supply of which a few hours' labour will 
. secure, with a glass of water and a paper cigar, he bids 
defiance to care ; and even though he may not have 
a roof to cover him, it is no great hardship to sleep 
beneath the sky of Andalucia. 

The city of Granada is in many places very pictu- 
resque. None of the streets are wide, while the 
majority are mere lanes, barely sufficient to allow two 
people to pass. The lower windows, as in all Spanish 
towns, are guarded by rejas ; and the many-coloured 
awnings over the balconies give them a very gay 
appearance. Many of the houses are painted on the 
outside ; but the generality have as yet escaped that 
fatal mania for whitewash which has become the great 
leveller of all architectural beauty in the south of 
Spain. The most picturesque portion of the town is 
along the course of the Darro, the sides of which 
abound in all sorts of quaint-looking buildings over- 
hanging the river. Flowing down through a romantic 
ravine, it runs under the precipitous hill upon which 
the Alhambra stands, having on the other side the 
steep streets and gardens of the Albaycin, and seems 
to have forced with difficulty its torn channel through 
the various structures piled upon its banks. All down 
the valley are scattered carmenes most charmingly 



situated, from which — especially from one surrounded 
by trelliced vine-walks — may be seen one of the finest 
views of the Alhambra, the crimson towers crowning 
the verdant heights above. Down through the narrow 
pass runs the river amid quaint old houses and churches 
— here the remains of a Moorish arch, there an old 
bridge or two still entire, all perfect studies for the 

Following the stream, the space begins to widen ; 
there, on the right hand, stands the Chancilleria, or 
law courts, a very handsome building commenced in 
1584. A flight of steps leads into a magnificent patio, 
whence a marble staircase conducts to a lofty corridor, 
out of which the several courts open. The staircase is 
said to have been erected under the following circum- 
stance : — a descendant of Fernan de Pulgar happening 
to enter the court while a cause was proceeding, 
and having a right, as a Grandee, to remain covered in 
the presence of the sovereign, he refused to take off his 
hat in the presence of the judges. For such disrespect 
the indignant functionaries inflicted on him a heavy 
fine, which he declined to pay, and appealed to the 
king. Philip II., delighted, doubtless, at an oppor- 
tunity of humbling the overweening pride of the 
nobility, decided, that although in his own presence a 
Grandee had such a privilege, no man had a right to 
remain covered in the presence of justice, represented 
in the person of his judges. He ordered the full fine 
to be paid, and handed over for the completion of the 
staircase of the Chancilleria. Here, the Darro disap- 
pears under the Plaza Nueva, which is arched beneath 
for that purpose. Nothing, in its own peculiar style, 
can be more picturesque than this square. At night, 
when its numerous stalls are lighted up, and the 
aguadors are plying about, and crowds of people stand 


8 1 

chattering- in groups, it presents a most animated and 
characteristic appearance. From this square three 
principal streets diverge — the Calle de Gomeles leads 
up to the Alhambra ; to the right a long street runs 
to the Puerta de Elvira ; and in front is the Zacatin, 
the Bond Street of Granada. The river here becomes 
visible again ; the old houses, forming one side of 
the Zacatin, hang over its bed, and present a suc- 
cession of views that become more picturesque as 
you proceed ; until, after passing the ruined convent 
of Carmel, it turns to the left, and flowing through 
the Carre ra del Darro, it mingles its waters with 
those of the Genii at the southern entrance of the 
town. The Darro, generally speaking, is a mere 
brook, its waters having been carried off, far up 
the valley, for the purpose of irrigation ; but at 
times, after a great fall of rain in the mountains, it 
rushes down, a raging torrent, threatening to overflow 
its banks, and inundate the town. It is apprehended 
that, on some such occasion, it may burst up through 
the Plaza Nueva, and do considerable mischief, making 
a temporary channel along the Zacatin. 

The Theatre stands in an open square on the Carrera 
of the Darro. In the plaza in front of it, is an 
unfinished monument to commemorate the unhappy 
fate of Mariana de Pineda. The history of this unfor- 
tunate lady is one of those many tragic episodes with 
which the revolutions in Spain have so abounded. 
Residing in Granada, the widow of a respectable 
proprietor of Huescar, she was suspected of maintaining 
a secret correspondence with the refugees at Gibraltar, 
by the assistance of one of her servants, who had 
formerly, served under Pdego. The charge was never 
brought home to her, and suspicion died away ; but 
she was again implicated in the escape of one of the 



political prisoners, D. Fernando Sotomayor, who left 
his prison disguised as a Capuchin friar. The discovery 
in her house of a revolutionary flag, which was said to 
have been embroidered by her orders, afforded sufficient 
pretext for her being thrown into prison. She v 
soon after condemned to death ; and, on the 26th of 
May, 1831, was executed in the Triunfo, outside the 
Puerta de Elvira. Like Torrijos, she was afterwards 
esteemed a martyr to the Constitutional cause ; and a 
monument erected to her memory. It is unfinished ; 
for the pedestal is there, but not the statue which was 
intended to adorn it — possibly, from want of funds, but 
more probably from some new change in the political 

From the Darro, in front of the theatre, a broad 
street, lined with double rows of trees, leads to the 
Alameda of the Genii. Here stands the Church of the 
Patron Saint of Granada, the "Virgen delas Angmtias" 
conspicuous with its two lofty towers. It contains an 
image of the Virgin, with a dead Christ on her lap, 
dressed out in all the magnificence which Spanish piety 
loves to lavish on the special object of its veneration. 
On Easter Monday, it was carried to the Cathedral in 
grand procession. The scene was exceedingly gay and 
animated. The ladies all wore white mantillas ; crowds 
of peasantry thronged the Carrera in their majo dresses ; 
and gipsy girls from the caves sported their tawdry 
finery and endless flounces. The procession was a long 
time forming ; but when at length the image emerged 
from the Church, it was greeted with loud cheering and 
ringing of bells. It was borne along by members of 
the first families in Granada, and followed by a long- 
train of people carrying lighted torches in then hands ; 
but there seemed a very scanty attendance of either the 
clergy or the military. At night, the effect was very 



beautiful indeed, as it returned, surrounded with such 
an immense number of lights. "Maria Zantisima e la 
Zangustias," as the Granadinos call the Virgin, is the 
one name invoked, upon every occasion, by all the 
lower orders : on her they call for assistance in every 
emergency ; in her name the beggar supplicates for 
charity ; and even still she is supposed to vouchsafe at 
times a miraculous compliance with their prayers. One 
or two persons who were nearly drowned last year, 
during an overflowing of the Darro, ascribed their 
escape to her assistance ; for having called upon her in 
their last extremity, they were instantly landed in 
safety on the bank. The image is reported to have 
arrived here in some supernatural manner from Toledo, 
and has been an object of veneration ever since the 
days of Philip II. 

The walk between the trees in front of the Church is 
the promenade chiefly resorted to by the upper classes, 
particularly in summer, when they appear only after 
dark ; and the beautiful Alameda of the Genii is 
considered damp and unwholesome after sunset. The 
latter was formerly the bed of the stream, which 
meandered at will over a wide sandy course, until, 
during the occupation of the French, the river was 
walled into a proper channel, the banks on each side 
were elevated, and the present delicious walks laid out 
and planted. For this splendid promenade Granada is 
indebted to Sebastiani, and also for the handsome 
bridge which he built at the upper end of it. Gradual 
improvements since then by the Ayuntamiento have 
rendered it what it now is, one of the loveliest Alamedas 
in Spain. Avenues of lofty elms unite their branches 
above, like a gothic roof, in a foliage so dense, that even 
at mid-day they afford the most refreshing shade ; 
gardens on each side, all through the early siunmer, 

o 2 



present one sheet of roses ; while later in the year, 
pink and white oleanders continue the charm of the 
scene. Several fountains give additional coolness to 
the air, but they are more remarkable for their size and 
the abundance of water they pour forth, than for taste 
or elegance of design. 

Beyond the bridge, a short distance up the valley of 
the Genii, are the ruins of a small hermitage, from 
which can be seen one of the most beautiful views in 
the neighbourhood of Granada, and from which the 
city assumes an entirely new aspect. This is peculiarly 
the view for sunset : it would be impossible to do 
justice on canvas to the rich colouring of the land- 
scape ; even the very soil around is of a crimson so 
intense, that any approach to it in painting would 
appear an exaggeration. The valley of the Genii is 
even still more fertile than that of the Darro ; and 
being much more open it offers a larger space for culti- 
vation. It is studded with villages and carmenes, 
almost hidden in the verdure which surrounds them ; 
and the river, which rises in the loftiest range of the 
Sierra, and is fed from the melting snows, supplies a 
never failing source of fertility. 

A little above the Alameda, and within the town, is 
a singular relic of one of the many royal residences 
which adorned Granada in the days of the Moors. It 
is now called the Cuarto Real, and belongs to a branch 
of the house of Pulgar. It is nearly surrounded by 
a large huerta, or orchard, and formed part of the 
possessions given by the Catholic sovereigns to 
Torquemada, for the adjoining convent of San Domingo 
which he founded. A bower of the most splendid 
laurel trees leads to the house. Planted on each side 
of a broad walk, they intertwine their branches at a 
great height overhead, and form a green vault, whose 



thick foliage effectually shuts out the sunbeams, and 
offers a deliciously cool promenade even in the hottest 
days of summer. At the end of this bower is a gallery 
supported by arches and columns in the style of the 
Alhambra, with a large fountain in the centre. From 
this a magnificent horse-shoe arch opens into a lofty 
square room, with alcoves at the sides, and in front one 
of the graceful Moorish windows whose arches are 
supported by a centre column. The walls are richly 
decorated with Arabic inscriptions, and the usual lace- 
like ornaments in stucco ; but here again sad havoc 
has been committed with whitewash, which has filled up 
the crevices, and quite deprived the edges of their 
delicate finish. Subterranean apartments have lately 
been discovered under the large hall ; and it is supposed 
that a secret passage communicates from them to 
the Alhambra. The family who reside there have 
occasionally evening receptions ; and nothing can be 
imagined more fairy-like than the appearance, at night, 
of this exquisite portico and hall, when brilliantly 
lighted up, and seen thus from the further end of the 
beautiful laurel walk, across the sparkling water of the 

One of the first pilgrimages made by the generality 
of travellers in Granada, is to the Royal Chapel, where 
are deposited the bodies of Ferdinand and Isabella. 
Those sovereigns, whose whole energies were devoted 
to the acquisition of this important city, found their 
last resting-place within its walls ; but the chapel 
erected to receive their remains is, in point of architec- 
tural beauty, quite unworthy of being their sepulchre. 
A splendid reja, one of those magnificent iron screens 
so distinctively an ornament of Spanish churches, 
protects the royal monument from the approach of the 
people, except during the celebration of service. A bier 



of the purest Carrara marble, richly sculptured, its 
sides covered with religious designs and heraldic blazon, 
supports the effigies of Ferdinand and Isabella, re- 
clining as in sleep. The figures are the size of life, and 
admirably executed. Beside them, but much loftier 
and more imposing, is erected the tomb of their daughter 
Juana, and her husband Philip the Fair. This unseemly 
occupation of the principal place, upon a site that should 
be sacred to the conquerors of Granada, considerably 
mars the general effect ; and, however much we may 
allow for filial affection, we can never excuse the bad 
taste of Charles V., who erected both the monuments, 
thus seeking to raise the memory of his imbecile parents 
above that of their illustrious predecessors. Who the 
artists were, who executed them, is not known with 
certainty. By some they are ascribed to Felipe de 
Vigarny ; by others to Italian artists. Beneath, is a 
vault containing the coffins of the four sovereigns and 
the little prince Miguel. It is small, and devoid of the 
slightest ornament ; and on square slabs in the centre 
and at the sides are laid the coffins, plain, ironbound, 
and blackened with age. 

The most curious object in the Royal Chapel is the 
lofty retablo, containing bas-reliefs representing some 
of the scenes of the Conquest, and supposed to have 
been done by contemporary artists. These retablos 
are a kind of architectural elevation in wood, richly 
covered, which rise behind the altars, and ornamented 
with paintings in panel, or more commonly with painted 
wooden sculpture — a branch of art peculiar to the 
Peninsula. The bas-reliefs alluded to give rough re- 
presentations of the delivery of the keys to Ferdinand 
and Isabella, and of the Baptism of the Moors, the 
women in the latter appearing in the same costume 
as worn by the women of Tetuan in the present day. 



These carvings have likewise been attributed to Vigarny, 
or, as he is more generally called, Felipe de Borgona, 
but they hardly appear worthy of his chisel. Vigarny 
died at Toledo in 1543, having, in conjunction with 
Berruguete, executed the sculpture in the choir of 
that cathedral. In the sacristy are preserved some 
interesting relics of the Catholic sovereigns ; the sword 
of Ferdinand ; a royal banner of embroidered silk ; a 
crown and sceptre of Isabella, silver gilt ; a highly 
finished picture in enamel, said to have been used by 
the queen as a portable altar-piece ; together with her 
own missal richly illuminated, and which she herself 
contributed to adorn. A handsome gothic doorway, 
which has escaped the whitewash which so unsparingly 
covers both the Chapel Royal and the Cathedral, leads 
into the latter edifice. 

This building was commenced in 1529, under the 
direction of Diego de Siloe. The exterior is heavy, in 
the Grseco-Romano style, and devoid of all architectural 
beauty. Like most other cathedrals it is still unfinished, 
the second tower having never been completed. Built 
upon the site of the ancient mosque, it bears over 
the principal entrance the appropriate inscription of 
" Ave Maria," words which in Granada are fraught 
with a peculiar interest, for they commemorate the 
bold exploit of Fernan del Pulgar, referred to in a 
previous chapter. Its form is an oblong square, save 
at the eastern end, which is circular. As usual, it is 
disfigured by a choir in the centre, upon each side of 
which is an organ painted in white and gold. The 
roof is supported by massive Corinthian columns ; 
and the pavement is laid in very handsome grey and 
white marble. The columns follow the outline of the 
church, and sweep in a semicircle round the high 
altar, which stands under a lofty dome. All around 



the altar is one mass of gilding, adorned with several 
fine paintings by Alonso Cano, who contributed greatly 
to the embellishment of this cathedral, of which he 
was one of the minor canons. Cano was both a 
sculptor and a painter, and was one of the last of the 
great artists of Spain who distinguished themselves 
in both these branches. After having passed through 
several adventures and mishaps, and amongst others 
been accused of the murder of his wife, and put to 
the torture, his right hand on account of his profession 
being exempted from the infliction — he was at length 
appointed one of the canons of this cathedral, and 
took possession of his stall in 1652. He executed 
many paintings and other works to adorn the cathedral ; 
and a beautiful little image of the Virgin, which he 
carved and painted, stands on the lectern in the choir. 
This style of carving in wood, and painting the figures 
so as to complete the illusion to the eye, is an art 
which was carried to great perfection in Spain, and 
had among its followers some of the greatest of her 
artists. In no country has the veneration for images 
been carried to such an excess as in the Peninsula. 
It would seem to have been so, from the earliest times ; 
for the Council of Illiberis, held in the beginning of 
the fourth century within two leagues of Granada, 
condemned and strictly prohibited the excessive use 
of images in the churches. Every province, nay almost 
every city, has its miraculous shrine ; and images of Our 
Lady and of the saints have been multiplied to satisfy 
the enthusiasm of devotees. The more they resembled 
life in minute detail, the more they satisfied the desires 
of a crowd of ignorant worshippers, who, without any 
soul for the loftier conceptions of art, only sought a life- 
like and startling reality. To gratify this taste, figure 
after figure was fashioned, and all the dresses and 



accessories painted with the greatest care and minutiae ; 
and in many instances the artist executed nothing but 
the head and arms, the figure itself being clothed in 
sumptuous dresses and adorned with jewels, with 
which the generosity of pious devotees loved to deck 
the image of their favourite saint. But such repre- 
sentations, far from elevating the thoughts, or aiding 
the soul in religious contemplation, only tended to 
vulgarise the worship they were meant to assist ; and 
the painted dolls which now disfigure the Spanish 
churches, and the low grade of religious faith which 
they indicate, clearly show how dangerous it is to 
familiarise too much to the mind objects which should 
ever be treated with a mysterious awe. That sculpture, 
in its truest sense, may be an art available for the 
furtherance of religion, I do not question. A marble 
figure of the Saviour on the Cross may bring more 
vividly to the imagination of the Christian the 
sufferings of his Redeemer, if the eye be not pained 
by too close a resemblance to familiar objects ; but 
when the same event is represented coloured with 
all the painful realities of life, or rather of death, the 
ghastly colour of dying agony — the blood streaming 
from the wounds — it creates in the mind nothing but 
feelings of horror. There is no doubt, but that the 
master minds of Montanes and Torrigiano have given 
an ideal beauty to the creations of their chisel ; but 
it is dangerous ground, and treads too closely upon 
the common-place. The generality have no more art 
or poetry about them than wax-work figures badly 
executed, and whose defects are exaggerated by the 
most tawdry and grotesque costume. Cano's own 
dying words are no inapt illustration of these remarks. 
His love of art was strong to the last ; and when the 
priest, who watched his final moments, extended to 



him a coarsely carved crucifix to kiss, he repelled it 
from him with disgust, exclaiming — " Provoke me not 
with that wretched thing ; let me have a simple cross, 
for with that I can reverence Christ in faith — I can 
worship him as he is in himself, and as I contemplate 
him in my own mind." 

Seven large pictures by Cano adorn the semicircular 
portion round the high altar ; but they are too distant 
to be seen well. Except these and two or three others, 
there are no remarkable paintings in the cathedral. 
Some of the altars are adorned with marble pictures, 
in which clouds and landscape are sculptured — most 
extraordinary performances certainly, but producing 
a very heavy and unpleasing effect. A large statue 
of St. James, the patron Saint of Spain, by Pedro de 
Mena, a pupil of Alonso Cano, occupies the retablo 
of his chapel ; and here also is preserved a copy 
of a Virgin and Child, said to have been painted by 
St. Luke, which was given, with the golden rose, 
to Isabella by Innocent VIII. 

Adjoining the cathedral is the Sagrario or parish 
church ; from which a side passage leads into the 
Royal Chapel. In this passage is the chapel given to 
Pulgar by the Catholic Sovereigns as his burial-place. 
It stands on the site of the door of the great Mosque, 
where he affixed the Ave Maria. A marble slab on 
the floor in front of the altar marks his tomb, and 
bears an inscription commemorative of his taking 
possession of the building while the city was yet in 
the hands of the Moors. An old picture forms the 
altar-piece, in the centre a Holy Family, and on one 
side a warrior holding a lighted torch. On the altar 
itself is a shield in mosaic, with the motto " Ave Maria."' 
The state in which this chapel is at present speaks 
badly for the respect which the family entertain for 



the memory of their ancestor. Neglected and nncared 
for, it is now used as a lumber-room for the Sagrario, 
and is so tilled up with old tables, lanterns, and all 
sorts of rubbish, that it is hardly possible to get into 
it. It is indeed disgraceful, to see it turned to such 
•• vile uses," and reflects little credit on the good taste 
of his descendants. 

Near the cathedral, after passing the archbishop's 
palace, a large though somewhat dilapidated residence, 
is the Alcaiceria or silk bazaar. The former bazaar 
was a very curious relic of the Moorish times, but in 
1843 it was entirely destroyed by fire. One has been 
since rebuilt, and presents a very fair imitation of 
Arabian architecture : but the daily declining trade of 
Granada has left most of the shops untenanted. The 
Alcaiceria opens into the Zacatin, an old Moorish street 
where the principal shops are situated. It is very 
narrow and picturesque, but is rapidly losing its 
eastern character ; glass fronts being substituted for 
the open window, where in the olden style the goods 
were laid out for sale. The Zacatin leads from the 
Plaza Nueva to the Bibarambla, so famed in Moorish 
story as the scene of all the tournaments and feats of 
prowess on which the ladies looked down from latticed 
balconies around. It is now called the Plaza de la 
Constitucion, a name by which of late years the 
principal squares in the Spanish towns have been 
designated — doubtless to commemorate, in Spanish 
fashion, a victory that yet remains to be achieved. 
This square has lost nearly all trace of antiquity, the 
old houses on the north side having been all pulled 
down, and a row of prim, modern-looking buildings 
substituted in their place. An old house belonging to 
the Ayuntamiento, built in the reign of Philip II., has 
some quaint-looking miradores ; and at one corner of 



the square is a Moorish gateway, better known to the 
people as the Puerta de las Orejas (of the ears). It 
derives its name from an atrocity committed during a 
disturbance which occurred on the proclamation of 
Philip IV., when at a grand fete some scaffolding 
having given way, many persons were killed, and 
among them several women. In the confusion which 
ensued, some of the mob began stealing the ornaments 
from the bodies of the dead ; and, at length, proceeded 
so far, for the greater expedition, as to tear the earrings 
from their ears. It has likewise been called de los 
Cuchillos, from the police hanging over it the forbidden 
knives taken from the people — a suitable name enough, 
considering that a neighbouring gateway is called 
de las Cucharas (of the spoons). The Bibarambla is 
still the scene of all public ceremonies, and appears 
decked out in peculiar style on the feast of Corpus 
Christi, when it becomes the fashionable promenade. 
On this day the raised platform, which then fills up the 
centre, is ornamented with a temple of some unknown 
order, and flowers and fountains, which are all 
exhibited on this occasion only. Round the Plaza 
a covered colonnade is erected of painted canvas, which 
serves to protect the procession from the heat of the 
sun, and is adorned with paintings and rhymes of the 
most grotesque description. How painfully at variance 
these latter are with the sanctity of the ceremony, 
which they are placed there to honour, no one who has 
not seen them can imagine. Caricatures of the broadest 
description, doggrel verses on the common topics of the 
day, coarse lampoons, odes and rhymes to the Holy 
Sacrament, all in most unseemly juxta-position, cover 
the pillars, and convey to the stranger a melancholy, 
but alas ! too true, an impression of the state of 
religion of the country. It is an animated scene. 



Crowds of peasantry flock into the town from the 
neighbourhood around ; all appear in their gayest 
dress ; the balconies are bright with snowy mantillas 
and sparkling fans ; music and the report of fireworks 
fill the air, when at noon on Corpus Eve the festivities 
commence in the square by the civil authorities 
delivering it up to the clergy. From this hour to the 
following morning the square is crowded — all through 
the day and night the people parade round and round. 
In the evening it is brilliantly lighted, and bands of 
music keep incessantly playing ; the sides of the Plaza 
are lined with chairs and couches where the ladies come 
down, in full dress, and see and are seen to equal 
advantage. The immense concourse of people, how- 
ever, makes it rather disagreeable, although a Spanish 
crowd is the most amiable and accommodating on the 
face of the earth — the Puerta de las Orejas notwith- 
standing. The Pescaderia or Fish-market, leading 
out of the Plaza, picturesque at all times, from the 
long projecting wooden gallery which runs its entire 
length, is on this eve an immense " curiosity shop " of 
the most singular description. The stalls are no longer 
eovered with the finny tribe, but with toys, trinkets, 
pictures, &c. ; and each stall is fitted up as a shrine, 
brilliantly lighted, with its altar and crucifix and pious 
pictures, where the people may pray or purchase as 
they feel inclined. 

The procession on the following day offers little 
attraction to those who have had the good fortune to 
witness this ceremony in any of the great cities of Italy 
or Germany. The present poverty of the church and 
clergy here, preventing any great display on their part ; 
the absence of the monastic orders, and there being 
no court or great authorities to make necessary a large 
attendance of the military ; render it comparatively a 


very quiet affair. The only peculiar feature it pre- 
sented were a number of little children, who preceded 
the Custodia in which the Host was carried, dressed 
as angels with gold and silver wings, and altogether 
" got up " in the most fantastic manner ; the poor little 
things being hardly able to walk under the weight of 
their finery. The procession looks very well from the 
balconies of the Zacatin, which is covered with an 
awning for the occasion ; and the crowds of gaily 
dressed people, and the bright hangings from the 
windows, give it that air and charm of joyous festivity 
which can alone be found in Italy and Spain, where all 
seem so thoroughly bent on enjoying themselves on 
fete days. 

After the procession is concluded, the people prepare 
to adjourn to the bull-ring — a strange mode of cele- 
brating a religious feast ; but then, it is in Spain, and 
one here soon ceases to be surprised at incongruities. 
The Plaza de Toros is small, and cannot boast of very 
good corridas. The sports are opened by a peculiar 
ceremony, that of inaugurating the games by prayer ! 
When the cuadrilla enters, they proceed as usual to 
offer their respects to the presiding authorities, and 
then turning round, they march across the Plaza to a 
shrine at the other side, before which they all uncover 
themselves, and kneeling down, begin to pray. This is 
the only Plaza in Spain, I believe, where such an 
extraordinary exhibition occurs in the arena. The bull- 
fight is followed by a crowded performance at the 
theatre ; and the day winds up with fireworks on the 

The churches in Granada offer but little to arrest 
the attention of the traveller ; one of the most 
interesting is that of San Geronimo, from its being 
the burial-place of the great Captain, Gonzalo de 



Cordoba. The magnificent convent to which it was 
formerly attached, has been converted into cavalry 
barracks, and the church itself is almost deserted : the 
tomb of Gonzalo is in front of the high altar, and a 
simple slab of white marble let into the pavement, with 
a latin inscription, marks the site. This church was 
shamefully treated by the French, who destroyed the 
tower in order to turn its materials to account for the 
bridge of Sebastiani in the salon or Alameda, the 
remains of Gonzalo were torn from their resting-place, 
and his sword which formerly hung over the retablo 
disappeared. But the final work of destruction was 
reserved for a Spanish mob, who, when the popular 
fury was directed against the convents, broke into the 
building in 1836, destroyed everything in the church, 
again violating the sepulchre of one of their greatest 
heroes, and scattering his ashes to the winds. That 
the hands of the foreigner should commit such atroci- 
ties, and thus avenge centuries afterwards the defeats 
that their countrymen had sustained at the hands of 
the great Captain, seems hardly credible ; but that 
Spaniards themselves should have followed such an 
example, and insulted the ashes of the man who had 
shed such lustre upon their name, is one of those sad 
facts which show how difficult it is to arrest the career 
of a revolutionary mob. The church and convent of 
San Geronimo were commenced by the Catholic 
sovereigns, and afterwards completed by Gonzalo's 
widow, who begged to be allowed to have the church 
as a burial-place for her family, which was conceded to 
her by Charles V. 

Not far from the San Geronimo is the convent 
hospital of the San Juan de Dios, a princely edifice, 
which owes its foundation to one whose life was a 
constant sacrifice to the cause of humanity. A poor 



soldier repenting of the sins of his past life devoted 
himself to relieving the wants of the suffering poor 
around him, and gave them an asylum in his house ; 
while he sought support and assistance from his 
wealthier brethren in the holy work in which he was 
engaged. A small shrine near the Puerta Elvira, 
according to tradition, marks the spot where he used 
to sell devotional books to increase his scanty funds. 
He contrived to enlist the sympathies of a few others 
like himself, who consecrated their lives to the object 
he had in view, and he now commenced carrying . out 
the design he had long formed of founding a hospital. 
Large funds now came in to second his intentions, but 
death carried him off in 1550, and it was reserved for 
his successor, Ortega, to complete the sumptuous 
building which now immortalises his name. He was 
canonised as San Juan de Dios. The order which he 
founded, and which was placed under the rule of the 
Augustines, rapidly increased, and at the time of the 
abolition of the monastic orders in 1836, they numbered 
above sixty hospitals in Castile and Andalucia, besides 
many others which they had founded in the vast colonies 
that belonged to Spain. 

In the general destruction of religious property, the 
monks of the order of San Juan de Dios were of course 
involved ; but the possessions of this the first hospital 
founded in Spain were left untouched, and it is still 
devoted to the purpose to which it was dedicated, under 
the superintendence of the Sisters of Charity. The 
cloister or patio is magnificent, adorned with frescoes 
representing events in the life of the saint, with descrip- 
tions in verse ; the lower portion of the walls covered 
with azulejos, with the simple inscription constantly 
recurring, " He who erected this implores you to com- 
mend him to God." El que costeo esta obra pidc le 



encomienden a Dios. The church is profusely decorated 
with marbles and gilding, displaying a lavish expen- 
diture, without much taste. The words inscribed over 
the principal entrance are those, with which its 
illustrious founder begged alms of the passers by ; 
" Do good unto yourselves." The remains of San Juan 
de Dios repose in a massive urn behind the high altar. 

A short distance outside the town, is all that remains 
of the once splendid convent of the Carthusian friars. 
Austere in their rules, the Carthusian monasteries, 
nevertheless, displayed a wealth and magnificence 
which left them almost unrivalled ; and the ruins of 
those which existed in Spain are among the finest of 
the ecclesiastical monuments. Seventeen or eighteen 
were founded in different parts of the country, the 
first in Catalonia in 1163. The Cartuja of Granada 
has now nearly disappeared ; its magnificent cloisters 
have been pulled down, its large orchards parcelled 
out, and sold to different individuals, and some portion 
of the original building is arranged as a villa and 
inhabited by a private family. The church with 
the small adjoining cloister was about to share the 
same fate, but it has been fortunately spared, and 
converted into a sort of parish church, which secures 
its preservation. A flight of steps leads to a platform 
in front, which commands a charming view over the 
vega. A statue of San Bruno adorns the facade. A 
small cloister attached to it still remains, covered with 
paintings by one of the lay brethren, named Sanchez 
Cotan ; they represent the tortures to which the Car- 
thusians were exposed in England by our Henry VIII. 
In the refectory is a large cross, painted by the same, 
and so admirably done, that even the birds try to 
alight upon it, fancying it to be made of wood — a 
delusion which the Spaniards consider the triumph of 



art. The church itself is very much overladen with 
ornament ; the sacristy is very handsome, and orna- 
mented with the richest marbles ; the doors and 
presses intended for the priests' vestments are all most 
exquisitely worked in tortoiseshell, ivory and mother- 
of-pearl, inlaid in ebony, and lined with cedar : it 
contains but little in the way of pictures. A small 
Conception on copper, attributed to Murillo, and a 
companion to it, said to be by Cano, are in the sacristy. 
The church is now most carefully kept, and mass said 
there every Sunday for the benefit of the rural 
population in the neighbourhood. 

Many are the curious old houses in the Albaycin, 
which still bear traces of their Moorish origin. The 
palaces of the Moorish chieftains are now the wretched 
habitations of the poorest inhabitants of Granada, and 
squalling ragged children people the patios, which once 
glittered with armed warriors ; the population is 
gradually diminishing, and within the last few years 
many of the houses in this quarter have been pulled 
down, their owners finding the ground more profitable 
when converted into gardens. Beyond the Alcazaba, 
runs the exterior line of walls skirting the city 
and cresting the hill up to the hermitage of San 
Miguel el Alto, where they turn and dip down into 
the valley of the Darro. These walls were built with 
a portion of the ransom of the warlike Bishop of 
Jaen, who was taken prisoner in a foray in the 
reign of Ismail, the father of Muley Hacen ; the 
bishop paid heavy sums, but died in captivity, before 
the full amount of his ransom was forthcoming. 

The view from the platform of San Miguel is very 
extensive, and from its being so elevated, you look 
down on the Alhambra, and obtain a very good idea 
of the line of walls which surrounded the city. 



The whole of this hill, sloping down to the valley of the 
Darro, is covered with the prickly pear ; and peering 
among their thick clumsy leaves may be seen the 
entrances to caves, hollowed out of the mountain side, 
and chiefly inhabited by gipsies. The hill swarms with 
living beings, who crawl out of the most extraordinary 
holes when you least expect them, as their habitations 
are most effectually concealed by the thick masses of 
the cactus and the aloe. These habitations have the 
double advantage of being cool in summer and warm 
in winter, and if one may judge from the crowds of 
children who swarm around, there is not much danger 
of their population diminishing. 

The ride through the valley of the Darro is very 
pretty. About a league up the river are the large 
buildings formerly inhabited by the disciples of Loyola, 
who showed no less judgment than good taste in 
selecting so secluded a situation, far from the noise 
and distraction of the city. At times the bed of the 
stream is enlivened by the presence of a few miserable 
looking gold-diggers, whose rewards are by no means 
commensurate with their perseverance. The dark 
brown sand when washed, produces a few sparkling 
grains, sufficient to prove the claims of the river to be 
called the Golden Darro, and to repay the labours of 
the poor by a few reals' worth in the course of the 
day. The mania for gold has latterly extended itself 
to this out-of-the-way place, and several people 
have been speculating, and companies formed, but 
all with small success ; the produce not being 
sufficient to repay the cost of the machinery, &c. 
Formerly it seems to have been more abundant, and 
Charles V. upon his arrival at Granada was presented 
with a crown made of the gold of the Darro. The 
bed of the river has worn itself a channel through a 

TI 2 



romantic glen spanned by one or two picturesque 
bridges ; its rocky sides in some places approaching 
close to each other covered with the most luxurious 
ivy. On St. Peter's day all the world flock here to 
enjoy themselves, and throng the bed of the river, 
walking about laughing and talking, apparently all 
the amusement the Spaniards care for. On their fetes 
they do not indulge in games of any sort ; a song to 
the guitar, or a dance, is the only variety that breaks 
the routine of their simple amusements. 

There are some few fete days in which the people 
throng to particular places ; St. Peter's is one of them. 
On St. John's Eve all the world assemble on the 
Alameda of the Xenil, about ten or twelve at night, 
and walk up and - down until two or three in the 
morning. The lower orders all sally forth on this 
occasion, and as the clock strikes twelve the young 
girls consider it necessary to wash then faces in some 
neighbouring fountain, in order to secure themselves 
a husband during the ensuing year. Woe be to those 
who have no friendly stream near in which to perform 
their ablutions while the fatal hour is striking. A 
bath at the same hour is likewise considered to bring 
good fortune to the children, but the rising generation 
are not satisfied with anything short of entire 
immersion; the large circular basin of the fountain 
at the head of the Alameda presents a curious scene, 
as they plunge in, one after the other, and swimming 
about, or climbing up the fountain, turn the water in 
showers on the bystanders. 

The lower orders here are much more addicted 
to drinking than the inhabitants of other portions 
of Andalucia ; but beyond the usual cases of stabbing, 
there does not seem to be much crime among the 
people. These offences are frightfully numerous, 



the narvaja or long knife being drawn on the 
slightest provocation and most effectually deciding 
every quarrel. Jealousy and revenge often lead to 
these homicides, but they as often are the termination 
of some dispute on the respective merits of toreros, or 
any other equally trivial subject, which may lead to a 
difference of opinion. Crimes of this description are 
generally punished with but two or three years 
confinement in one of the Presidios, where the men 
are employed in various works, some light enough, 
such as watering the roads, kc. In the Alhambra 
they appear to lead rather a pleasant life of it than 
otherwise ; the best behaved are employed as guards 
in the walks. One day, when we were going up, 
we missed a young man who was in charge of the 
centre walk, and who had been imprisoned for two or 
three years for having stabbed and dangerously 
wounded a cousin of his own upon some slight 
provocation. On asking where he was, we were told 
he had been killed the night before. It seems that 
on occasion of some fete day, his mother had asked 
of the governor permission for him to come down and 
spend it in the town, which request was granted on 
account of his uniform good conduct ; but in the evening, 
his cousin attacked and mortally wounded him, thus 
revenging the attempt which had formerly been made 
on his own life. Hardly a night passes in Granada 
without some case of stabbing, and on fete days an 
additional number swells the list. The punishment 
for offences, here, varies so much, according as interest 
or money can be brought to bear in behalf of the 
criminal, that it is hard to say how justice takes its 
course. Once in prison after arrest there are so many 
facilities of escape from punishment, that in the case 
of any determined criminals, such as banditti, &c, whom 



the government are really anxious should be punished, 
the guards generally receive orders to shoot them 
before bringing them into the town, and when they 
arrive, the people are coolly informed they were shot 
because they attempted to escape. 

The soldiers who act here as police are a very fine 
body ; they are all picked men, who really do their 
duty, rather an uncommon thing in Spain ; and have 
proved a most eflicient force. They were organised by 
Narvaez, and wear a uniform resembling the old 
French dress, with a cocked hat in Napoleon style. 

At night the towns are guarded by watchmen, who 
rather disturb the sleep of those unaccustomed to them 
by the loud tone in which they announce the hour, 
" Ave Maria purissima, las once y sereno, " the hour 
being always followed by a declaration of the state of 
the weather ; and as it is more generally fine than 
otherwise, they are called Serenos, from that being, 
with few exceptions, the concluding word of their 
watch-cry. The Serenos and Guardia Civil are common 
to all Spanish towns ; but one class of men more 
peculiar to Granada, we must not pass unnoticed, 
viz., the Aguadors, who abound in this water-loving 

There are two or three springs from which these men 
take the water to sell it in the squares and streets ; one 
is the Algibes, or reservoirs I have already noticed, in 
the Alhambra ; and another favourite fountain is the 
Avellanos, in the valley of the Darro, a shady spot 
embowered in a perfect forest of hazel, whence it takes 
its name. Here, at all hours of the day, the Aguadors 
may be seen filling their jars ; some carrying it about 
on their backs in tin vessels set in cork-bark, which is 
found to act as a refrigerator ; others, possessing a 
fonr-footed beast to relieve them of their burdens, load 



their donkeys \\ it li two jars on each side, which, covered 
with green leaves to keep the water fresh and cool, and 
buried under the foliage surmounting them, really 
appear like a walking forest. The Aguadors them- 
selves are an independent oft-hand set of people, 
some of them very amusing, and full of all sorts of 

Never was a nation so fond of water as the Spaniards, 
and the quantity they get through would have excited 
the unqualified admiration of Priessnitz himself. They 
have a variety of expressions to define its qualities, 
perfectly inexplicable to the stranger, who strives in 
vain to detect the differences which entitle water to 
such epithets as rich, and poor, fat and thin ; and change 
of water is here the regular phrase instead of change of 
air, and water, as a beverage, seems to be regarded 
with as much veneration by the Spaniards, as the 
Moors looked on it as a means of purification ; in the 
latter sense the inhabitants of Andalucia do not make 
much use of it. The scanty accommodation afforded 
for the use of water externally is rather striking to the 
traveller. In travelling by diligence he may notice 
two or three basins arranged in the dining-room, or 
passage leading to it, for the accommodation of those 
who arrive and wish to indulge in the extraordinary 
luxury of washing their hands ; but this is only where 
a higher degree of civilisation has been reached. In 
small inns in out-of-the-way towns, a barber's basin is 
sometimes all you can obtain for your ablutions ; and 
although water to drink may be procured here with 
greater facility and purity than in any other country, 
water to wash is a very difficult article to obtain. 



Sierras que cubre el sempiterno hielo, 
Donde Darro y Genii beben su vida ; 
Valles salubres, trasparente cielo 
De la Alpujarra aun ma] conocida. 


It was a barren scene, and wild, 
Where naked cliffs were rudely piled ; 
But ever and anon, between, 
Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green. 







However interesting the town of Granada may be, 
its neighbourhood offers many -points fraught with 
souvenirs of the past ; and the lovely summer evenings 
may be well employed in rides through the vega, while 
those who delight in collecting wild flowers, and 
studying the botany, or the geology of the country in 



which they are residing, will find a rich harvest in its 
wild sierras. 

About a league from the town at the foot of the 
Sierra Nevada, where numerous torrents flow down 
from its sides to "water the vega with their melted 
snows, stands a small village called La Zubia, the white 
belfry of its church rising above the olive yards and 
orchards which surround it. La Zubia, for those who 
care not for the past, is nothing more than one of the 
many villages dotted about the vega, consisting of small 
whitewashed houses clustered round the church, inter- 
sected by water-courses, through which the torrents 
are led to fertilise the plain. In its streets may be 
seen the mouldering walls of some ancient mansion, 
once the residence of proud Castilian nobles, whose 
arms, carved in stone over the keystone of the Moorish 
arches, seem placed as the seal of conquest on the 
abode of the vanquished foe. 

To those who love the story of the past this now 
neglected village recals a bright page in Granada's 
history. To the left, as you enter the town, is a large 
garden, once belonging to a Franciscan convent, now 
converted into a farmhouse, and the owner will lead 
you to a small open temple by the side of a gigantic 
bay tree, and tell you that here Isabella sat when she 
came to have a nearer view of Granada than could be 
obtained from the encampment of the Christian host. 
It was a charming evening when we first went there, 
the sun was setting in a flood of gold behind the 
mountains of Elvira and Parapanda. Before us rose 
Granada, on her amphitheatre of hills, crowned by the 
towers of her Palace Fortress ; to our right, the 
Picacho still robed in its snowy mantle ; far away 
behind, the height where Boabdil sighed forth his last 
farewell to the home of his ancestors : all before and 



around, the vega enclosed by its framework of moun- 
tains, its fields at this season teeming with life, the men 
at work gathering in the harvest, and the yellow hue of 
the stubble contrasting with the verdant green of the 
tall hemp. 

Here, on this same spot, the peerless Isabella, sur- 
rounded by the flower of her chivalrous host, gazed 
upon the city she so long had coveted, and which was 
soon to be the reward of her untiring energy and 
perseverance ; the brightest jewel in the crown of the 
two Castiles : for the conquest of Granada, which 
united under one sovereign all the separate kingdoms 
of Spain, consolidated the Spanish monarchy. Yet this 
union, far from laying the foundation of the welfare of 
the kingdom, seems but to have preluded its fall ; 
energies, which had been all concentrated on the extir- 
pation of the Mahommedans, were allowed no time to 
be devoted to the improvement of the newly acquired 
territories. Distracted by the golden vision of the New 
World, paralysed by the blighting influence of the 
Inquisition, the internal state of Spain can hardly be 
said to have improved materially from that period. 

The Vega of Granada is well cultivated now, but its 
inhabitants have only availed themselves of the admir- 
able system of irrigation bequeathed them by the 
Moors ; in many instances, they have neglected this 
instead of improving upon it ; and much that was like 
a garden in their hands, has become an arid desert 
under their conquerors. 

With a population totally disproportioned to the 
extent of land in the Peninsula, the inhabitants can 
easily obtain from the ground suflicient for their sub- 
sistence ; satisfied with little, their wants are quickly 
supplied, and they have hardly any inducement to exert 
themselves. With governments, the members of which 



only think of enriching- themselves at the public expense, 
how can the state of things be expected to improve? 
They change, but of what avail is change where bad is 
only replaced by worse ? Office in this country is a 
mere gratification of personal ambition ; the advance- 
ment of a small coterie who seek their own individual 
profit, and, once installed in power, abandon the 
principles they used as a stepping-stone. There is no 
such thing as public spirit in Spain ; their revolutions 
are not the expressions of popular feeling ; they are 
only got up by particular parties out of spite for some 
insult they have received, or envy at their adversaries 
having too long enjoyed the sweets of office ; but, alas ! 
so corrupt does everything appear in the present day, 
that an honest man ceases to continue one so soon as 
he is dragged into the fatal vortex of the court. Could 
Isabella behold the present state of things under the 
reign of the second of her name ; could she, who 
approached so nearly to perfection, both as a sovereign 
and a woman, behold the events now passing, she of 
whose ministers it may truly be said, as the greatest 
compliment, that they were worthy of their royal 
mistress ; she who watched over the welfare of every 
portion of her subjects with such untiring solicitude ; 
what would be her feelings to see the Spain of the 
present day ? We may drop a veil over such a mournful 
contemplation, nor seek to draw comparisons between 
the reigns of the first and second Isabella. 

The presence of the Catholic sovereigns so near the 
town provoked the Moorish knights to a slight skirmish, 
which ended in a serious conflict. To commemorate 
the events of the day a convent was erected on the spot 
where the queen viewed Granada : the building still 
stands, but its inhabitants were expelled in 1835 ; its 
present possessor still, however, preserves the laurel 



planted, as they say, by her own hands. From La 
Znbia a ride across the vega leads to Santa Fe, the 
town that was built after the fire which consumed the 
Christian camp, to impress on the inhabitants of 
Granada how firm and unalterable were the resolves of 
their enemy. The canvas walls were speedily converted 
into ramparts of brick and stone, and here was signed 
the treaty of capitulation ; a treaty made to be violated 
by the Christians, who ought to have been the first to 
set an example of better faith. 

Here, Columbus learned from Isabella that the crown 
of Castile would venture much for the carrying out his 
projects of discovery ; here, the realisation of his hopes 
broke upon the enthusiast, and his heart was brightened 
by finding one who could sympathise with his ideas, 
and not think them the dreams of a madman ; and here 
Torquemada suggested the expulsion of the Jews from 
the Spanish dominions, the decree ordaining which was 
finally signed and sealed within the walls of Granada. 
We can hardly imagine the gentle hand of the humane 
and merciful Isabel signing a decree which should 
plunge so many thousands into misery, and yet that 
same hand ordained, also, the establishment of the 
Inquisition. So far can fanaticism pervert the minds 
of even the purest to sanction the vilest cruelties, under 
the mistaken idea of furthering a religion which preached 
peace on earth, and goodwill towards men. 

Santa Fe now bears no trace of having witnessed such 
important events in history ; a wretched village with 
four straight streets crossing, diverge from its Plaza, 
in the centre of which stands a church, whose two 
small towers form conspicuous objects in all the 
distant views of the vega. Between them is the 
head of a Moor, in stone, transfixed by a spear, 
commemorating the heroic combat of Garcilaso de la 



Vega with the Moorish chieftain Tarfe. An hour's ride 
from Santa Fe, over the flat plain, brings you to Soto 
de Roma, the estate granted by the Spanish Government 
to Wellington, in reward of services which the nation 
seem most unwilling to acknowledge. The debt of 
gratitude is a heavy one to pay, and Spanish debts 
are not famed in general for being regularly liquidated. 
There is nothing to see at Soto de Roma beyond the 
usual style of Spanish villages, nor does the Duke's 
property appear much more thriving than that of his 

This is a pretty ride on a July evening, when the 
harvest is getting in ; for then all is life and animation 
in the vega ; the corn has been cut, and the people are 
busily employed in the fields, treading it out on 
the circular threshing-floors, paved with stones for 
this purpose. Small sheds are run up, the coarse 
matting supported by poles forming a shelter from the 
burning rays of the sun, and a sleeping-place for those 
who remain to guard the corn at night. Near this shed 
are grouped the lively peasants, the women and children 
preparing the gazpacho, a favourite dish of cucumbers, 
bread, garlic, oil, vinegar and water, which cools and 
refreshes the parched labourers ; the young horses 
are driven round and round, to teach them the work 
for which they are destined ; — all form a picture of 
rural enjoyment and activity which is not often seen 
in this land of the dolce far uiente. The operation 
itself is very striking ; the men standing on small 
planks of wood, with sharp iron teeth beneath, and 
driving their horses rapidly round over the sheaves 
of corn, which are laid on the circular "era," thus 
bruising out the grain, which is afterwards winnowed 
by being thrown up into the air. Sometimes a small 
car is substituted for the common plank, on which 



two can sit, and this affords great amusement to 
the young people, driving round and round, while an 
occasional upset and a roll in the corn contribute to the 
merriment of the party. The scene is completed by the 
large heavy carts constantly arriving, bringing the corn 
drawn by the patient oxen, who never vary their pace, 
following their driver, who walks before them with a 
long stick across his shoulder, by which he guides them, 
every movement of which they follow ; all this combines 
to present a charming picture of rural life, brightened 
by the gay dresses of the peasantry and the glow 
of a southern land. All look happy and joyous, 
and the guitars enliven the whole with their lively 

And then as night approaches, all nature seems 
rejoiced at the freshness of the evening air. Now is 
the time for enjoyment ; -these evenings are indeed 
delicious, more particularly if in riding home the 
moon comes forth in all her glory, shining in the dark 
firmament, and diffusing that sweet softened light 
which soothes the senses after the burning heat of 
day ; the fine outline of the Sierra rises in front, the 
lights in the distant town glitter like stars, and all 
around, the vega appears on fire ; the stubble is blazing 
on the fields whence the corn has been removed, thick 
wreaths of smoke curl upwards, now bursting into 
name, now smouldering on the plain ; and although 
this denotes that man is actively engaged in preparing 
his fields to yield a second crop, all nature seems at 
peace after the heat and brightness of the day. 

After the corn ripens and the hemp is cut, the vega 
begins to assume a burnt and calcined look, a penalty 
from which even these well irrigated plains are not 
exempt, exposed as they are to an almost tropical sun. 
In September the Indian corn ripens, but the verdant 



patches of this graceful crop barely suffice to tinge it 
once more with green. The effect of this beautiful 
plant is very much injured by the custom of cutting off 
the upper leaves, to give food to their horses before 
even the grain ripens. 

Returning from Soto de Roma, the road sweeps 
round the base of the volcanic peaks of the Sierra 
Elvira, that rises like an advanced guard in the plain, 
detached and isolated from the adjacent mountains. 
Its arid slopes contrast with the smiling vega around, 
and yet here, on its southern side, stood the great 
Roman city of Illiberis. It gradually declined before 
the superior advantages offered by the rising town of 
( iranada, and now it has entirely disappeared, and not 
a trace remains even to mark its site. 

On a rising ground, behind that which the city is 
supposed to have occupied, a large cemetery was dis- 
covered some few years ago ; upwards of two hundred 
sepulchres were opened, and some vestiges of the 
foundations of ancient buildings were traced ; most of 
the sepulchres contained skeletons. Signet rings, rich 
bracelets of gold and silver, amphoras and other relics 
of antiquity were likewise discovered ; these however 
have all vanished, the jewellers' shops having been 
found by the peasants of the neighbouring villages the 
most lucrative way of disposing of their treasures, and 
they in turn have melted them down, regardless of 
anything but their intrinsic value, for the manufacture 
of modern ornaments. The sepulchres having been 
rifled of their contents, and afforded a profitable occu- 
pation during a year of drought, the earth has again 
covered them, and the passer-by would hardly notice 
anything remarkable in the small hollows which are 
dotted over this desolate piece of ground, with no 
habitations in the neighbourhood, save the wretched 



village of Atarfe, at some little distance on the edge of 
the vega. 

In Illiberis was held the first council of the Christian 
Church in Spain. It is supposed to have taken place 
early in the fourth century, Osio, Bishop of Cdrdoba, 
having assisted at it, the same who presided in 325 
at the celebrated Council of Nice. Nineteen Spanish 
bishops were present ; many of its decrees were very 
rigorous, and some might be enforced in these days 
among the present inhabitants of the Peninsula with 
great advantage. The custom of lighting candles id 
the cemeteries on certain anniversaries, and that of 
prostrating themselves before images and paintings, 
were strictly forbidden in its canons ; the latter more 
especially, as tending to the revival of Pagan super- 
stitions. 'The early Fathers of the Church saw this, and 
wisely forbade the introduction or the continuance of a 
custom which, in the minds of the uneducated, might 
degenerate, and beyond question has degenerated in 
this country, into gross abuses. 

One of the prettiest rides in the neighbourhood of 
Granada is to Viznar, a village on the side of the 
mountains to the north of the town. Here, towards 
the end of the last century, one of the Archbishops of 
Granada built a country palace in a pretty situation ; 
Granada itself however being concealed from it by a 
projecting hill. The rooms are large and spacious, 
and the facade towards the garden is painted with 
the rudest frescoes from the life of Don Quixote. It 
now belongs to a private individual. The road above 
Viznar winds along the sides of the Sierra de Alfacar 
to the Fuente Grande, as the spring is called which 
rises on the mountain-side ; and a more lovely spring 
than this it would be difficult to find. The water 
bubbles up from a gravelly bed as cool and pure as 



even the most water-loving Spaniard could desire, 
and flows down in the channels cut for it to spread 
fertility around, irrigating the thirsty land on its way 
to the town of Granada, which is supplied in a great 
measure by this crystal stream. 

It is a sweet spot, this Fuente Grande ; above rise 
the jagged peaks of the Sierra, bare and bleak, although 
many a rare flower nestles among its wilderness of 
rocks. Below the spring the scene is changed ; all is 
green and verdant ; the olives cover the declivities, 
and all is clothed with the most luxuriant vegetation ; 
for water here is the magician which converts, by a 
stroke of his wand, a desert into a paradise. 

Those who care for flowers are advised not to stop 
at the fountain, but to climb the arid-looking cliffs, 
and their labour will not pass unrewarded. In the 
interstices of the rocks, the most exquisite little flowers 
live and die unnoticed, while the more gaudy peony 
raises its bright showy blossoms, whose crimson colour 
forms a beautiful contrast to the grey stones among 
which it flourishes. 

Such are some of the many excursions which may be 
made by those who have sufiicient time to while away 
at Granada, in which all may find some employment 
or another wherewith to pass away the sweet days 
of spring in the enjoyment of the beauties which 
nature has lavished on this delicious land, and where 
history has rendered each spot of ground sacred to the 
mind of the traveller. 

As summer advances, an excursion may be made to 
the Sierra. The Picacho de Veleta is not the loftiest 
summit of the chain, but as it is easiest of access from 
Granada, it is the one most frequently visited, the 
ascent of the Mula Hacen involving a tour through the 
Alpuj arras, a wild and beautiful mountainous district 



lying on the southern side of the Sierra. Those who 
ascend the Picacho must make up their minds to spend 
a night in the open air, at an elevation of some 8000 feet, 
where even in July and August the cold is disagreeable 
enough. We were prepared for all adventures, and 
accordingly, one morning, we sallied forth, accompanied 
by our guides. We left Granada about 2 o'clock in the 
morning ; it was quite dark as we passed through the 
town, and climbed the ascent beyond it. When day 
dawned, we had already attained a considerable eleva- 
tion ; the vega lay like a map behind us. And now 
the sun rose, and words cannot describe the beauty of 
the scene presented to us as it spread its glowing hues 
over every object ; first tinging the distant mountains, 
then stealing over the vega, driving before it the cold 
morning shadows, infusing light and life as it advanced, 
until at length it penetrated into every nook and 
corner, and illumined the red towers of the Moorish 

Behind us the verdant plain ; in front the lofty 
summits ; and around far as the eye could reach on the 
opposite banks of the Xenil, a perfect sea of mountains, 
their rounded summits rising one above another like the 
waves of a tempest-tossed ocean, intersected by various 
channels worn by torrents as they sweep into the 
valleys below. A few cortijos, or farmhouses, dotted 
about here and there, relieved the look of loneliness 
which the barren appearance of the mountains gave, 
and a three hours' ride up a precipitous path, against 
bare chalky rocks, brought us into the Puche. This is 
a sort of caldron, surrounded by barren heights, and 
covered with corn-fields ; signs of the industry of man 
in these elevated regions. Behind us lay the gorge, 
through which the Monachil rushes on to fertilise the 
vega ; before us rose the rough peaks of the Dornajo, 



whose limestone crags give shelter to many a rare and 
beautiful flower ; below ns a deep valley gradually 
descending to the bed of the Monachil, where stands a 
small cortijo. Beyond this valley rises an amphi- 
theatre of stupendous hills, with the pyramidal-shaped 
crest of the Trevenqne peering over them, and loftier 
still, the dark summit of the Veleta itself ; the white 
snow-fields still sparkling on its grey schistose rocks. 

From the Puche you gradually ascend towards the 
Dornajo, and the character of the vegetation becomes 
more Alpine. On the way, a small and scanty spring 
tempts the traveller to rest and seek refreshment ; for 
small as it is, there is no other to be met with before 
reaching the summit ; and here you must supply 
yourself with sufficient water for the night, or be 
content to drink of the melting snows from the nearest 
drift. Here the calcareous rocks are covered with the 
stiff prickly tufts of such Alpine plants as the Erinacea 
Hispanica, Astragalus creticus, &c, the deep purple 
blossoms of the former covering the ground. Here we 
stopped to breakfast. Our guide was quite an original ; 
not one of those accustomed to go about and lionise 
travellers, but a genuine specimen of a rough moun- 
taineer ; tall and strongly made, it was quite impossible 
to tire him at walking. Francisco had been always 
employed by a Granada botanist to accompany him 
in his excursions, and he had picked up a sufficient 
knowledge of flowers to recognise most of them by 
their Latin names, and could lead you at once to the 
spot where any of the rarer kinds were to be found. 
He used to come and pay us visits very often, and 
bring some of the spoils of his wanderings, marching 
into the drawing-room with his cigar in his mouth, and 
seating himself down in the most unceremonious 
manner. A genuine specimen of an Andalucian 

i 2 



peasant, always at home, but at the same time never 
permitting his easy familiarity to lead him beyond 
the bounds of proper respect. 

Our repast over, we proceeded on our way, climbing 
the sides of the Dornajo, the silvery leaves of a dwarf 
convolvulus forming quite a carpet on the stones. 
Here the aspect of the Sierra changes ; we leave the 
limestone rocks and enter upon the dark slaty 
formation which forms the culminating portion of 
the chain. The path now leads along the shoulder 
of the mountain and passes under the craggy rocks 
of the San Francisco, until at length we arrive at the 
Choza or hut, which serves as a refuge to travellers 
for the night. A small shed of smaller stones has 
been raised against a huge rock, into which two people 
can just creep and lie down, while two or three large 
stones form a wall to protect the rest of the party from 
the violence of the winds. 

This place of refuge has been arranged by the 
neveros, the men who go up every night from Granada 
to fetch the snow required for the consumption of the 
town, and here they rest sometimes on their journey. 

Wearisome indeed must be this constant ascending 
and descending, for they never meet a human being 
on their way from Granada to the summit, save m »w 
and then one or two wretched peasants who wander 
for hours over the bare slopes of the Sierra to collect 
a few handfuls of the Manzanilla Real (Artemisia 
granatensis). This small plant is highly valued for 
its medicinal qualities, and a few reals reward them 
for their long and toilsome walk. The day was 
beautiful, and we preferred ascending at once to see 
the sun set from the summit instead of waiting till the 
following morning to see it rise ; so, leaving all our 
preparations for the night at the Choza, we continued 



on our way. The path ceases to be so good after 
leaving this halting-place and descends into a hollow 
where several little ponds are dignified with the title 
of Lagunillas ; the clear water oozes forth and actually 
clothes the damp ground around it with a mass of 
verdure, the grass sparkling with small white and 
yellow ranunculuses. 

The road now climbs the face of a slaty precipice, 
crossing fields of snow, along whose edge the little 
violet spreads out its blossoms, peeping from between 
the stones, reminding one of home and spring-time. 
Here the road reaches the edge of a tremendous 
precipice, and you look down into a deep crater called 
the Corral de Veleta, surrounded by the precipitous 
cliffs of the most elevated summits of the mountain 
chain. In front rises the Picacho, forming an almost 
perpendicular wall of rock, extending on to the Mula 
Hacen and the peaks of the Alcazaba ; the base fringed 
with the wavy ice of the glacier, whose melting waters 
feed the Xenil, which takes its rise in this ravine. 
Here we left the horses, and the remainder of the 
expedition was performed on foot ; the western side 
slopes gradually down, but it is tiresome walking, the 
ground being encumbered with vast blocks of micaceous 
schistose rocks, thrown about here and there, tossed 
one upon the other, at times offering a very insecure 
footing. Bare and dreary-looking from a little distance, 
the interstices of these rocks are full of gay-coloured 
flowers, blooming in Alpine loneliness far beyond the 
range of a more showy vegetation. The orange- 
coloured lichen imparts a brilliant hue to the dark 
stones, while between them grow thick tufts of a 
bright pink daisy (Erigeron frigidum), and bunches of 
a beautiful Linaria (Linaria glaciate) cluster in all the 
crevices. Small and low, like all plants which flourish 



in so elevated a region, they seek the shelter of the 
protecting rocks, and only await the disappearance 
of the snow to pnt forth their blossoms, while their 
roots twine amongst the loose stones in search of some 
little speck of earth to nourish them. The road winds 
along the edge of the dizzy precipices which fall at 
once into the Corral de Veleta, lying like a huge and 
dreary gulf some thousand feet below. 

At length the summit is attained, and here from one 
of its loftiest peaks you may look down upon the 
world below. The sun was just setting. The distant 
vega which seemed a mere speck, was lost in a dense 
mist through which the rays of the sun vainly strove 
to pierce, and all the mountains beyond were shrouded 
likewise. The blue ocean lay in the far horizon, and 
the dark mass of the Mula Hacen, a few hundred feet 
loftier, rose before us, joined by a ridge of slaty rocks 
whose knife-like crest is quite impassable. Sloping 
gradually to the southern and western sides, these 
mountains all descend in abrupt precipices to the north 
and east — perpendicular heights, whose giddy edge 
even the boldest shrink from approaching. There is 
something inexpressibly grand and solemn in being 
at a height like this, so far above and away from the 
living world : overhead the bright unclouded sky ; and 
the earth receding from below ; — standing on one of 
these towering pinnacles, man feels his nothingness 
compared to the vast works of nature which lie beneath 
and around him. But the sun was setting, night was 
closing in, the lower world was losing itself in shadow, 
the jagged peaks were alone standing out with their 
gaunt unearthly forms against the sky, and we felt it 
was time to abandon our elevated position and retrace 
our steps over the loose unsteady rocks before night 
overtook us. We did not, however, succeed, and it 



was with difficulty we had light enough to find our 
way back. We preferred continuing on foot, for the 
night M as dark, only illumined by the stars, and the 
footing for our beasts was none the surest. How, I 
know not, but we lost our way, and we wandered 
about for an hour or two in utter ignorance of where 
we were ; nothing could be more wretched, for the 
loose slaty rocks are bad enough to scramble over by 
day, but at night they are anything but pleasant. By 
dint of our guide's knowledge of the mountains we 
managed at length to reach the Choza, although not 
without having received sundry bruises in our endea- 
vours to scramble down the declivities. We were 
not sorry to find our resting-place again, and 
welcomed it with as much joy as many a traveller 
would welcome the most luxurious inn. Every thing 
goes by comparison, and the fatiguing walk we 
had, had made us thankful to see the blazing fire 
round which our guides were most picturesquely 

Our bivouac that night was wild enough ; two of 
our party ensconced themselves in the little hut, while 
the rest threw down their mantas near the shelter of 
the rocks, and disposed themselves to sleep as best they 
could. The dry juniper bushes, which had been collected 
by some of the guides during our absence, rapidly 
kindled into a blazing fire, and the flames threw their 
lurid glare around, lighting up the rocks in all manner 
of strange fantastic shapes. How strange the picture 
which such scenes as these present — how novel the 
feelings they create ! 8000 feet above the level of the 
sea, with the stars twinkling above in the dark vault of 
heaven ; ourselves the only living beings in that vast 
mountain land ; the men, with their mantas wrapped 
around them, trying to warm themselves by the fire ; 



their shadows flitting about among the rocks like 
unearthly visitants ; and a stillness so profound as 
almost to be oppressive. We passed the night without 
suffering any inconvenience even from cold. Fortu- 
nately there was not any wind, or else we should not 
have found our airy quarters quite so pleasant. The 
dawning day gave us notice to arise and see the glorious 
sun as he gradually peered forth from behind the 
distant mountains ; the summit of the Picacho first 
catching his rays ; the first to welcome him, the last to 
bid him farewell. Soon the light was diffused over 
even the distant vega ; and, hastening over breakfast, 
we started on our return, for we had a long day's march 
before us. 

We crossed the snow-drift which lay near, and 
turning to the right, skirted the western slopes of the 
Picacho, and bent our steps towards one of those lovely 
little lakes which abound in these Alpine regions. We 
passed the source whence flows the Monachil, surrounded 
by the same grassy plots which mark all these springs. 
Soon afterwards, in winding round a low ridge of rocks, 
we came upon a green sward, verdant as an English 
meadow, the soft grass mingling with the gorgeous 
purple flowers of the gentian ; and close to this grassy 
plot a small but beautiful sheet of water reflecting in 
its mirrored surface the snow-capped peaks of the 
surrounding hills. So strangely quiet and so lovely it 
looked, that mountain lake, we almost started as we 
saw the tall figure of a man seated on one of the rocks 
on the opposite side of the water. The clearness of the 
air made him appear so close and so large, he seemed 
like the spirit of the scene guarding the lovely waters 
from all intruders from the world below. He was 
wandering across with his flock of goats, waiting while 
they stopped to browse in so tempting a place. The 



road across to the Alpujarras leads by this secluded 
spot, Ferns grow around in the crevices of the rocks, 
and the snow lies heavy on the peaks around. There 
are several of these small lakes in the Sierra Nevada 
which feed the streams that descend from their heights, 
the melting snows keeping them well supplied. The 
water was icy cold, and many a snow-drift was still 
glittering in the sun. 

We now retraced our steps and crossed the summit 
of the ridge, whose sides slope down to the valley of 
the Monachil, which separates this from the Dornajo 
and the road by which we had ascended the day before. 
Barren indeed were these ridges — loose stones which 
afforded but a dangerous footing for the horses, and 
dreary beyond description. At length we descended 
into a valley where signs of cultivation began once 
more to show themselves ; the bushes and flowers which 
grew around denoted that we had reached the range of 
a more luxurious vegetation, and bade adieu to the low 
plants of the more elevated regions. On leaving this 
valley a lovely view burst upon us. The Trevenque 
rose in front, a bare pyramidal mountain, its naked 
rocks apparently destitute of all verdure ; a large oak 
forest swept along the base, and contrasted with the 
white dazzling cliffs. The Trevenque rises to the height 
of about 6500 feet above the level of the sea, and its 
summit appears almost inaccessible. 

We lunched in a lovely valley at its base, under the 
shadow of fern trees ; it almost resembled a halt in the 
desert, the mountains which skirt this valley are so 
snowy white, painfully glaring to the eyes, and stand 
out against the deep azure sky in striking contrast. 
Once more on horseback, we left the splendid gorge of 
Dylar to our left, skirting the face of the mountains 
towards the vega. Here Ave passed one or two cortijos, 



famous as having been robber-haunts in days gone by. 
A long ride brought us down behind La Zubia, and it 
was very late in the night before we reached Granada, 
our complexions not improved by the scorching we had 

We made several excursions into the Sierra Nevada, 
and remained for two or three days in one of the 
cortijos in the valley of the Monachil. Our habitation 
in these secluded regions was not most inviting : a sort 
of loft above formed my bedroom, and when I lay 
awake at night, I could see the stars peeping through 
the rafters, and almost felt that the night in the open 
air at the Choza was preferable to such quarters. We 
scrambled up the mountains and wandered about 
through the valleys, chiefly in pursuit of flowers. I have 
seldom seen anything prettier than the Prado de las 
Yeguas, the long slope which falls from the rocks of 
San Francisco down to the valley of the Monachil ; 
here an immense number of horses are turned out to 
pasture during the summer months, and roam about 
over its grassy land, drinking at the springs which 
here and there gush forth. The whole place in the 
month of June is enamelled with many-coloured 
flowers ; low brushwood of the light yellow broom, 
the laurel-leaved cistus, the yellow barbarv, and the 
splendid flowers of a most magnificent honeysuckle, all 
mingling in such profusion and with such a richness 
and brilliancy of colour — a perfect wilderness of every 
form and every hue. These prairies are covered with 
snow during six months of the year. 

There are two or three cortijos scattered here and 
there, where the people live in summer to look after 
the flocks which come to feed in those mountain 
pastures, contriving at the same time to draw from the 
ground some scanty crops of corn. There are but few 



villages on the northern sides of the Sierra Nevada, 
while the southern slopes are covered with towns, 
which formed the last strongholds of the Moors after 
their expulsion from Granada. 

The Alp nj arras, as they are called, face the sunny 
Mediterranean ; the lower portions of their declivities 
are clothed with oranges and lemons, while above them 
vast forests of chesnuts afford pleasing and romantic 
scenery. We made a charming expedition to these 
romantic valleys, where the bold independent spirit of 
the mountaineers bade defiance for a long time to the 
hosts of Philip the Second and the brave Don John 
of Austria. The kindness of Talavera, the good Arch- 
bishop of Granada, comforted and assured the Moors 
that the treaties signed by the Christians would not be 
violated ; but the fierce unyielding spirit of Ximenes, or 
Cisneros, as he is always called in Spain, soon changed, 
the aspect of affairs, and his severity and ardour 
in converting them to Christianity was productive of 
fatal consequences. The treaties which had guaranteed 
them the exercise of their religion, the preservation of 
their costume, etc. etc., were all in turn forgotten, and 
oppression and cruelty drove them to rebel against 
then conquerors. 

Charles the Fifth continued in the course Ximenes 
had commenced, and sought to force them into 
becoming Christians by every means which the spirit 
that reigned under the Inquisition could suggest. 
Every promise was broken, every compact violated ; 
then costume forbidden, and they were even deprived 
of the use of their baths. But persecution never gains 
its end ; a spirit of discontent was gradually being 
fostered, and at length in 1568 the smothered flames of 
rebellion burst forth. The signal was given, and the 
Moriscos were soon in arms from one end of the 



Alpuj arras to the other ; the spirit of independence 
still lived in these mountain-fastnesses, and the inac- 
cessible nature of the ground rendered the warfare 
difficult for the Castilian troops. 

The greatest atrocities were perpetrated on both 
sides ; no decided advantage was obtained by either 
party ; and at length the state of the country roused 
the attention of the sovereign, who appointed Don 
John of Austria to command the troops. This brave 
and gallant prince, unwilling to risk tarnishing the 
laurels he had already won, was reluctant to take the 
field until the state of his forces was such as to promise 
him success. Much time was wasted, but eventually 
the rebellion was concluded by the expulsion of the 
Moriscoes, and the busy villages and cultivated fields 
were shorn of their inhabitants, and the towns which 
•had been teeming with life and industry were left 
deserted. A silence as of the desert came over the 
land, whence hundreds of thousands were driven forth 
at the command of a bigoted tyrant, and the country 
has not yet recovered from the loss it then sustained. 
Those skilful hands could not be soon replaced ; gardens 
relapsed into dreary wastes ; and the expulsion of the 
Moors and of the Jews, which deprived the country of 
her most enterprising inhabitants, was fatal to her 
future welfare. 

The road to the Alpuj arras is doubly interesting, as 
being the one taken by Boabdil when he left his home 
and kingdom for the last time. After crossing the 
vega and passing Alhendin, a village which played its 
part in the great drama enacted here, the road leads 
over one of the low hills which here form the boundary 
of the plain. On the summit, your guide tells you to 
look round, for this is the "Ultimo Suspiro del More' 
— the last sigh of the Moor, — where Boabdil took his 



farewell glance and turned away for ever from his 
peerless Granada. This view is so far remarkable, as 
being the point where you lose sight of the city. 
Everything in the direction of the town and vega is 
beautiful, while nothing can be more dreary than the 
view presented towards the Alpujarras ; no contrast 
can be greater. Nothing could be more unpromising 
than the country which lay before the Moorish king, as 
he passed over the ridge, and saw the desert extending 
before him, dreary as his own dark fate, with no ray of 
hope to brighten the future. 

Padul lies in a richly cultivated valley, celebrated 
likewise for witnessing many a bloody tight. The 
range of the Sierra Nevada now rises on our left, and 
the valley of Durcal presents a beautiful gorge. A 
magnificent road is being constructed along here from 
Granada to Motril, which would be advantageous to 
the former as affording a direct communication with 
the sea coast. It is laid out on a stupendous plan, 
showing great engineering works and cuttings which 
would do honour to any railway ; all regardless of 
expense, as Spanish undertakings usually are at first : 
commenced on a scale of unnecessary grandeur, and of 
course left unfinished. In this instance, it is said that 
Malaga prevents the completion of it, fearing it might 
prove detrimental to her interests, and so there it 
remains. Works which might reflect credit on a line 
of railway are wasted on a road where nothing but 
strings of mules pass to and fro, conveying the fish 
from Motril to Granada, and the fruit which ripens on 
these southern shores some time before it does in the 
higher lands of the vega. The road crosses one 
stupendous gorge, a deep chasm in the sterile rocks, 
without a shrub on which to rest the eye, spanned by 
a single arch connecting the opposite sides of this rent 



in the mountains. The heat was quite intense, and 
everything seemed on fire ; the chicharras making such 
a noise it was perfectly deafening. 

The path now left the Motril road, which branched 
off to the sea coast, and through the openings of the 
distant hills we caught a glimpse of the blue expanse. 
The ride was tiresome, the heat overpowering ; and we 
were not sorry when turning round the brow of a hill 
we saw Lanjaron before us, lying on the slope of the 
mountain backed by the lofty range of the Sierra. 
Before the town, rose its old Moorish castle, perched 
on a steep rock rising from the valley below, on the 
opposite side precipitous cliffs bounding the landscape. 
A more enchanting view than this can be seldom seen, 
so many circumstances contribute to lend it such 
singular beauty. The lofty mountain slopes down as 
it were straight into the vale beneath, where every 
variety of vegetation which clothes the Sierra is seen 
at a glance. Above, the barren slaty rocks ; then 
waving fields of corn ; then vast forests of chesnuts, 
interspersed with the almond and the olive. Next 
comes the town with its white flat-roofed houses, below 
which the very declivities are clad with the produc- 
tions of tropical climes ; the orange, the citron, and the 
pomegranate displaying their bright green foliage. The 
contrast in winter must be strange indeed between 
the sparkling fields of snow above, and the golden fruit 
of the trees below. 

Lanjaron is a celebrated bathing-place, and is much 
resorted to by the Granadinos in summer ; its mineral 
waters were discovered in the last century, and many 
flock there during the bathing season. Were it in any 
other country it would be one of the most enchanting 
places in the world, for art would lend its assistance to 
complete and heighten the charms of nature ; but here 



man has not done anything. The baths are wretched 
places for invalids to resort to, and as to an hotel, there 
is hardly a decent one in the place. We stopped at 
the only one, and were fortunate in getting rooms ; 
it was clean enough, but beyond a bed and a chair the 
rooms were destitute of furniture. Lanjaron consists 
of one long street, every house of which is crowded in 
summer, and the views from their flat roofs are 
perfectly enchanting. There are many beautiful walks, 
both above and below the town. It is delicious in 
the sultry heat of the day to wander through the 
\\ hiding paths, under the refreshing shade of the dense 
foliage of the Spanish chesnut, with springs of water 
gushing forth at every corner, and the damp mossy 
stones covered with fern. Every inch of the declivity 
is filled with gardens of figs, olives and almonds. 
Below the town you descend into the valley through 
the mass of orange trees which luxuriate on the rocky 
slopes, while the giant blocks of stone which lie 
scattered here and there in the bed of the river are 
covered with vines creeping over and around them and 
clothing them in an emerald garb, the heavy bunches 
of the grapes ripening as they lie upon the stones 
which glow with the fierce heat of the burning sun. 
Picturesque mills complete the scene. But little 
remains of the old Moorish castle. It stood many a 
siege, and was taken by Ferdinand himself when he 
advanced against it in 1500. 

We could not spend more than a day in this lovely 
spot, where one could linger for a month and find 
fresh beauties. Our road led us across the valley. 
We roamed for two leagues along barren whitish- 
looking mountains, until we descended upon the valley 
of Orgiba, another oasis in the desert ; for certainly 
these lovely spots in the Alpuj arras are justly entitled 



to such a denomination. The general character is 
sterile and monotonous to a degree ; the white glare, 
unrelieved by verdure, affects the eye most painfully, 
but now and then you come upon spots of surpassing 
beauty, broad valleys encircled by mountains or little 
nooks where water, gushing forth in all direction-, 
spreads fertility around. Orgiba, conspicuous from 
the two tall towers of its church, stands in one of these 
open valleys. Its olives are something wonderful in 
point of size, old trunks grown into odd fantastic 
shapes, of perfectly gigantic dimensions, their time- 
worn branches still laden with fruit. We only passed 
through the town, being anxious to go by a ravine 
called the Angosturas del Rio. We soon entered upon 
the sandy bed of the river, now a mere insignificant 
stream, and continued up its wide but deserted channel, 
the sides fringed with the oleander, the pistachio and 
the tamarisk. The rocks come close down to the edge 
of the river's bed, and form rather a wild pass through 
which the stream flows. One of our guides went to a 
large vineyard opposite, while we stopped to breakfast, 
to pick a supply of grapes, and here, as at Lanjaron, 
they twine about the rocks. We now ascended a more 
barren and rocky ground, leaving the ravine through 
which we had been riding to cross into the great valley 
which descends direct from the slopes of the Mula 
Hacen. After a long and wild ride along the crest of 
the ridge we descended down a broken precipice, and 
crossed a bridge over a chasm. The view here was 
charming ; the water from an enormous wheel, after 
feeding the mills, dashed headlong down into the 
ravine, at the base of which the river was foaming 
along among huge blocks of stone. After resting here 
for some time we mounted again, and climbed the 
opposite heights amid forests of chesnut and mulberry. 



We passed one or two villages, and at length reached 
Portugos, whence we had determined to undertake the 
ascent of the Mula Hacen. Trevelez, about a league or 
two further on, is the point generally selected as a 
starting-place. As the ascent, however, could be 
accomplished equally from Portugos, we did not see the 
use of going on. All these villages on the southern 
slopes of the Sierra bear the same character. Low mud 
built houses, with flat roofs, generally consisting of only 
one story, present a resemblance to Arab villages which 
cannot fail to strike the traveller here in the last strong- 
hold of the Moor, where he naturally seeks to trace 
some memorial of the race. The streets, if streets they 
can be called, are too dirty, and almost impassable for 
man or beast, so crooked and uneven, they can hardly 
be distinguished when you survey them from the 
terraces of the houses. The women, too, have an 
oriental stamp upon their countenances, not a little 
increased by the manner in which they tie their hand- 
kerchiefs over their heads. Portugos did not afford very 
tempting accommodations ; but at last we obtained two 
empty rooms and beds, although not sufficient for all 
the party. Provisions also were not abundant in this 
far out-of-the-way place, raised so much above the 
range of civilization. The villagers in the evening 
flocked in to look at us, but good-humoured and civil, 
as Spanish peasants always are ; each in turn duly 
stared at the wonderful strangers who had taken so 
much trouble to make themselves so uncomfortable. 

We started with the sun, and soon looked down 
upon the flat roofs of Portugos, the red towers of the 
churches rising conspicuously in all these mountain 
villages. The first part of our road took us through 
most romantic scenery, large forests of evergreen oak 
interspersed with low underwood. But we soon arrived 




at the limits of such vegetation, and while the moun- 
tains rose higher around us, we kept ascending over 
ridges of barren rock. The wind rose as we ascended, 
and the cold became so intense that we hardly knew 
how to guard ourselves from its searching blasts. In 
perfect despair we took refuge behind some rocks, 
where, sheltered from the wind, we experienced the 
glowing heat of the sun, whose rays seemed to lose 
none of their intensity even at this elevation. We 
breakfasted here, and refreshed ourselves before we had 
courage again to face the piercing wind. 

It was very disagreeable having to leave our com- 
fortable shelter, but so far on our way, it was of no use 
despairing, and on we went. At length we arrived near 
the summit, and leaving our horses, walked up to the 
loftiest peak, where we whiled away an hour or two in 
wrapt enjoyment of the prospect before us. The feeling 
of being actually on the very highest summit of the 
chain may have some influence, but undoubtedly the 
view from the Mula Hacen is much finer than that from 
Veleta ; the Picacho forming so much grander an 
object from this point than the Mula Hacen does from 
its rival. 

The summit of the Mula Hacen is formed by a narrow 
table-land, which shelves down gradually in every 
direction except to the north-west, where it terminates 
in a precipice. Steep cliffs connect the Mula Hacen 
with the Alcazaba, all these frowning heights encircling 
the crater of the Corral de Veleta, whence the Xenil 
takes its rise. The Mula Hacen, according to Boissier's 
measurement, is 10,980 feet. But few flowers bloom 
at the greatest altitude ; the small yellow poppy 
(P. pyrenaicum) grows, however, in great quantities 
among its stony masses. We lingered for some time, 
enjoying the prospect before us, but we had a long 



road over which to retrace our steps, and the shades of 
night had set in long before we found ourselves esta- 
blished once more in our most charming quarters at 

The next day we returned to Orgiba by another road 
through the beautiful Barranco of Poqueira. This is 
one of those lovely spots which come now and then to 
refresh the weary traveller in Spain. Poqueira is a 
strange village, built on so steep a declivity that the 
flat roofs of the houses serve almost as a walk for the 
inhabitants of those above them. But such dirt ! such 
a fraternisation of pigs and children ! Below Poqueira 
the water foams down by a mill with one of those 
beautiful mountain bridges at its side, the gorge 
embosomed in the deep shadow of overhanging trees. 
Refreshing indeed are such spots in the burning heat 
of a July sun ; here masses of green verdure soothe 
the eye, and ferns and mosses cover every stone, 
drooping over the sides of the waterfall and mingling 
their dew-besprinkled leaves with those of the vine and 
fig-tree. Here we have abundance of the two things 
generally wanting to make a paradise of sunny 
Andalucia, and which are indeed doubly prized from 
their very rarity. We had, however, to leave the 
shady glen and the crystal springs which gushed forth 
in every direction and recross those arid mountains 
against which the rays of the sun strike with tenfold 
vigour. Once more we passed Orgiba and returned 
to Lanjaron, whence we retraced our steps towards 

We had explored but a small portion of the 
Alpuj arras ; but unfortunately we could not extend 
our tour. We much regretted not being able to visit 
either the old towns of Baeza and Ubeda, whose 
streets abound with so many antiquated facades of 

K 2 



old mansions of the nobility, or the ancient towers 
of Purchena, where Boabdil retired when he left 

But the time was now approaching for our departure 
from this paradise of the Moor, and it was indeed with 
reluctance we bade adieu to our lovely garden and its 
terraced walk. It was in all its beauty when we left ; 
the rich grapes were hanging in green and purple 
clusters from the vines ; the pomegranates laden with 
fruit formed a perfect picture as their crimson seeds 
burst forth from their golden cage. There are scarcely 
any oranges at Granada ; although growing at the 
same elevation at Lanjaron. They do not nourish here 
on the northern sides of the Sierra. The feeling that 
one might never revisit it made the leaving sad : one of 
the penalties of travelling is having to tear oneself away 
from places whose beauty has captivated us — from 
scenes on which nature has lavished her charms so 
profusely. We had, however, some faint idea that we 
might once more revisit this lovely spot and enjoy a 
few more summer evenings amid its pleasant groves 
and fairy halls. We were obliged to be at Seville by 
a certain day, and illness having delayed our departure 
from Granada, we were compelled to give up the 
journey round by Cordoba and take the shortest route. 
Our preparations were completed, and we sallied forth 
from the Puerta Elvira and pursued our course along 
the vega by Loja and Osuna : such a tiresome ride ! 
more particularly in these autumn months, when every- 
thing is scorched and burnt. 

No one who has not ridden in Spain can form any 
correct idea of the general aspect of this wild country, 
its vast monotonous plains, its wilderness of mountain 
chains where all is grand in its loneliness and deso- 
lation ; entire tracts of country unpeopled and unculti- 



rated, covered only by low brushwood ; no signs of 
living being, save perhaps in the far horizon some small 
village may be descried promising a refuge for the 
night. It presents far more the character of African 
or of Asiatic than of European scenery, and at times 
nothing is wanting to complete its resemblance to the 
former, except long trains of camels winding slowly 
along. Some stray muleteers meet you on the way 
and you pass on to find yourself once more the sole 
occupant of the treeless plains around you. The 
contrast presented by the same country in spring and 
autumn is very striking : in early spring the land looks 
green, the young corn is coming up, the grass grows on 
the roadside, the shrubs seem fresh ; and although there 
may not be any timber, all nature wears a verdant 
garb ; the wild flowers are clothed in a thousand hues, 
the blue iris is dotted about, and blossoms which 
would be the pride of many a parterre, flourish over 
the wide dehesas, interspersed among the low stiff 
leaves of the palmetto. But cross the same tract in 
autumn, when it has been exposed for months to the 
fierce action of the sun, without one gentle shower to 
mitigate the intensity of its rays, it has suddenly been 
transformed into a desert ; not a vestige of green 
remains ; the corn has been cut ; the stubble alone is 
standing ; every blade of grass is parched, calcined, and 
yellow ; the plants crackle beneath your horses' feet ; 
all is dried up, withered and covered with dust which 
rises in clouds at every gust of wind. 

Vegetation is taking its sleep, preparing to bloom 
forth afresh when the November rains shall afford 
them their gentle nourishment. There is certainly not 
much enjoyment in this season, and one cannot regret 
that the intense heat should oblige one to rest by day, 
and pursue the journey at night. The ride to Loja 



occupies about nine hours, and a weary one it is along 
a broad carriage-road, kept in good order — at least for 
Spain ; and Loja itself appears to have been consider- 
ably improved and embellished of late. The reason it 
has been so favoured is, that there is the residence of 
Narvaez, who, while he ruled the country with an iron 
hand, did not forget to benefit his own little town and 
look after its interests. When we passed through 
Loja, the Duke of Valencia was residing there in a 
sort of quiet retirement, away from the .intrigues of 
court, but only awaiting his opportunity to appear 
again upon the stage. 

The posada at Loja is decidedly not the best in 
Spain ; there are plenty of rooms in it and beds, but 
the comedor, as the dining-room is called, has but few 
attractions. The town was anciently one of the keys 
to the kingdom of Granada situated in a pass between 
two lofty hills crowned by its old castle. Here the 
great Captain Gonzalo de Cordoba lived, when he 
sought to forget, amid the splendour of his own 
miniature court, the neglect and ingratitude of his 
sovereign. We tried to ascend to the roof of the castle, 
and were obligingly told to enter ; and after climbing 
up a flight of very ricketty stairs, we found ourselves 
in a prettily arranged theatre. I saw, however, no 
signs of a view, and on asking whether there was no 
window whence we could look out, the man appeared 
intensely disgusted, evidently imagining the renown 
of the theatre had attracted us thither. 

The following evening we met the galera going on to 
Loja from Antequera, with its eight mules. It is a 
perfect mystery how such heavy lumbering vehicles 
can traverse the roads, which seem almost impassable 
for horses, much more for vehicles of any description. 
But it is one of the wonders of Spanish travelling, how 


1 35 

these mules do dnm" carts and wagons straight across 
country, quite as a matter of course. They go at a 
snail's pace, those galeras, but still they do go, and 
generally reach their destination in due course. 

We rode at night, passing the hill of Archidona, on 
the southern side of which stands the town. The salt 
lake of Antequera lay to our left, and we passed 
through Alameda and its adjacent oak-woods. The 
cortijos in this neighbourhood used to be celebrated 
as the haunts of robbers and bandits in the days of 
the formidable Jose Maria. Things have changed since 
then, as our ride at night would sufficiently prove, our 

own party, consisting only of Mr. T and myself, 

and the man to whom the horses belonged. There is 
something unutterably lonely in these Spanish wastes 
at night, without even the moon at times to light up 
the scene around ; the dark vault above, lighted only 
by the glittering stars ; no sound save now and then 
the bark of some shepherd's dog sounding in the 
distance, telling of the existence of life ; all tranquil 
and dark, the very essence of silence and of solitude. 
And when you plunge into the oak-woods there is a 
mysterious darkness and tranquillity, which incline one 
to start at the slightest sound. These places are 
indeed fit haunts for the bandit, and one could almost 
fancy the ghost of some robber-chief flitting behind the 
trunks of the tangled oaks waiting to pounce upon his 
prey. As the traveller, whose imagination has long 
looked forward to some charming adventure whenever 
he should explore the enchanted land called Spain, 
cannot easily gratify his fond anticipations, he may be 
allowed at least the innocent amusement of peopling 
these wild dehesas with them in his mind's eye. Yet 
there are many even in this day, who would not under- 
take such a ride as we did ; certainly not an English 



lady I met once, who after making the journey from 
Granada to Malaga with safety in a diligence, declared 
it was wonderful how they had escaped being robbed, 
for they saw the banditti standing on almost every 
rock as they came along. Poor people ! it is a pity 
that honest Spanish peasants will look picturesque and 
robber-like, and thus foster a delusion so fatal to the 
good character of their country. Doubtless, the Melo- 
drame has much to say to it ; for with their cloaks 
thrown over their shoulders, their sombrero with its 
knowing-looking silky tufts at the side, their black 
moustache, and dark flashing eyes, and the musket on 
which they lean to gaze upon the traveller as he passes, 
they seem the very heroes for a tragic scene. How 
should the traveller know, when he sees them in 
such suspicious costume, whether their weapons be 
prepared for murder or more peaceful objects ? It is 
a singular fact, but I hardly ever met travellers in 
Spain who had not had some miraculous escape ; who 
had not passed by half-an-hour before they were 
to be attacked, or half-an-hour after the robbers 
had left their ambuscade, but I never yet met with 
one who had arrived just at the moment when the 
robbers would have been ready to receive them ; and 
what is still more strange, we were ourselves destined 
to add to that remarkable list ; but I must not 

However, although they do not often attack travellers, 
there is no doubt that robbers still exist in Andalucia ; 
but the race of those who were " muy caballero," very 
gentlemanlike, is extinct. There are no more Jose 
Marias, who come and visit the great people in Seville 
and other towns, and interchange civilities when they 
meet unexpectedly on the road. Many and amusing 
are the anecdotes still told of these courteous knights. 



Once upon a time a party of them attacked a diligence 
in which there happened to be a grandee, who had 
always highly favoured the robbers whenever his 
influence could be of any avail ; but his kindness did 
not save him now. He happened to have a considerable 
sum of money with him, and it was all appropriated. 
His " Excelencia " was a great devotee and most peculiar 
worshipper of the Seiiora de las Angustias, the patron 
of Granada, a golden medallion of whom he always wore 
' round his neck ; and the robbers espied this prize, but 
when its meaning was explained to them, they returned 
it with the most polished courtesy, and begged him to 
keep it, praying that it might watch over him and 
preserve him from all robbers ! 

From Alameda you pass on to Osima, but although 
we made the journey in perfect safety, I would not 
recommend any one who can avoid it to follow in our 
footsteps. A more wearisome journey I never made ; 
no object of interest on the road — a ride which even in 
spring could offer but few attractions, and at this season 
of the year perfectly detestable. It is far better either 
to go round by Ronda, or by Cordoba. I never felt 
more rejoiced than when we reached Alcald, de Guadaira? 
a town about two leagues from Seville, where we entered 
on the high road from that city to Madrid. The sun 
was just rising as we passed, and before us lay stretched 
an olive-coloured plain, with a tall tower rising in the 
distance. That tower was the Giralda, whose square 
and lofty substantial-looking edifice, at that distance, 
gives no promise of its beauty and elegance. We crossed 
by a small path through the olives, leaving the high 
road on our right. The white cortijos warned us of our 
approach to the town, and at the Cruz del Campo we 
beheld the city lying before us. We soon reached 
it, and at last found ourselves winding through its 



narrow streets of dazzling whiteness, and were at once 
struck by the oriental appearance given to it by the 
awnings spread from house to house, shading the 
streets. We were in Seville ! the rival of Granada, 
whose Cathedral and whose Tower are alone worthy of 
a pilgrimage. 



Insigne Catedral donde Dios vive 
Etemamente, donde cl cuerpo santo 
Del rey conquistador culto recibe ; 
Do yace el sabio rey, do brilla tanto 
Trofeo de victoria, 

Encanto, iglesia, liionumeuto, historia. 
Mientras mas te contemplo y mas te admiro, 
Mas entusiasmo y para f<5 respiro 
Salve portento santo sin segundo, 
Gloria de EspaSa, admiracion del mundo. 

Duqde DE RrVAS. 






The first thing which arrests the traveller's attention 
on entering Seville in summer, is the peculiar character 



presented by the town. It possesses the most powerful 
charm in its novelty, for I am not aware there is any- 
thing like it, certainly not in Europe, where it stands 
alone. The houses, consisting for the greater part of 
only two stories, are all whitewashed, their dazzling 
brightness proving most painful to the eye under the 
glare of an Andalucian sun. As you pass along the 
narrow and tortuous streets, you are struck by the 
manner in which everybody appears to be living in 
public, open to the gaze of all the passers-by ; you find 
the large wooden doors wide open, and a small hall 
terminating in a door of elaborately ornamented open 
iron-work, admitting a full view of the exquisite marble 
court within. These patios, as they are called, are 
generally filled with gaudy -coloured flowers, bushes of 
myrtle or of box, and tall orange-trees rising amongst 
them with their golden fruit : in the centre, a fountain, 
with its sparkling water spreading freshness around. 
The patio is surrounded by a gallery, supported on 
slender white marble columns, under which the family 
spend their time in summer. A thick canvass is 
drawn across from roof to roof, which excludes the 
heated air and fierce rays of the sun, and under this 
grateful awning the family repose, and enjoy the 
refreshing shade. But here they 'are in public, nothing 
between them and the street except the open iron- 
work, the cancela. The intense heat of summer prevents 
many from going about in the day-time ; but towards 
evening the streets of Seville present quite a fairy 
scene, — the marble courts, with the bright lights of 
hanging lamps shining among the flowers, the figures 
of their inmates sitting round in lively conversation, or 
striking now and then the chords of the guitar, whose 
wild notes accompany the still wilder songs, the sound 
of the castanets keeping time to the merry dance, all 



enjoying themselves in the delicious coolness of the 
evening air. This is a picture of life which must 
certainly be considered as peculiar to Seville, lending 
from its strangeness a tinge of oriental romance to this 
fair city. And yet, if we only consider for a moment, 
nothing can be more uncongenial to Eastern manners 
than such a life. Eastern nations bury themselves 
in the interior of their houses, far removed from the 
public gaze ; carefully excluding their domestic circle 
from every eye ; deep in the inmost recesses of their 
dwellings ; a mode of living which affords a complete 
contrast to that of the inhabitants of Seville. It is like 
Seville and Seville alone, for nowhere else is there any- 
thing of the kind. The style of the houses, to say the 
truth, reminds one more of the plan of those of Pompeii 
than any others I have ever seen ; and may it not have 
been borrowed in the first instance — long before the 
Moors put a foot in Spain — from the neighbouring city 
of Italica ? Be this as it may, they have a charming 
appearance, which is, however, lost to the traveller who 
only sees the town in winter, for the patio life ends in 
September, and does not recommence until May. 

The families, who reside on the first floor in winter, 
migrate to the ground floor when the heat commences, 
taking with them all their furniture, which is arranged 
in the rooms opening out of the patio ; even the doors 
and windows in many instances being removed, as they 
are made to fit both floors. Many of the larger palaces 
of the nobility have gardens as well as courts, where 
oranges and myrtles flourish in great luxuriance, the 
former perfuming the air in spring with the delicious 
odour of their snowy blossoms. 

We had a splendid house, as far as the size of its 
patio, garden, and rooms were concerned. It had been 
uninhabited for many years, and was much neglected, 



but it was a most enjoyable winter residence. There 
was a large terrace looking upon a garden full of orange 
trees, where the sun was often too hot even in the winter 
to venture sitting there in the middle of the day. Most 
of the houses have a terrace on the roofs, although they 
are not generally flat as in Cadiz ; and from ours we 
could look down into the bull-ring, and catch a glimpse 
of the arena — a distant vision of it, sufficient for those 
who had not learned to steel their hearts against its 
horrors. We could hear the shouts that accompanied 
the performance of every feat, and could tell each act 
in succession by the sounds of the music. 

It is quite as difficult to get houses in Seville as in 
any other part of Spain. Furnished houses are not to 
be met with, and those which are unfurnished can 
scarcely be procured for less than a twelvemonth. In 
Seville, as in all warm climates, the invalid requires 
apartments facing the sun, for the narrow streets, 
delicious as they are in summer, strike most cold and 
damp in winter. We were settling ourselves there for 
a lengthened residence, and naturally enough took the 
tiresome duty of sight-seeing more tranquilly than birds 
of passage, who have to do the lions in the space of 
four-and-twenty hours — a period of time I have heard 
many travellers say sufficed to see the whole of Seville. 
Ample time, certainly, to have a general view of it from 
the summit of the Giralda ; but the treasures of art 
which it contains would delay the traveller for many 
and many a four-and-twenty hours within its walls. 

The pride and glory of Seville bear witness to the 
domination of both Moor and Christian. The Giralda 
and the Cathedral bear the stamp of their respective 
architects, each alone and unequalled. We will first 
turn our steps to the famous tower from whence 
the call to prayer was once re-echoed by a thousand 



minarets, and where now the Christian bells summon 
the faithful to their devotions. The matchless Giralda ! 
the wonder of Seville, the " maravilla " of which she is 
so justly proud ! Commenced by the Moor, it was 
completed by the Christian, and, for a wonder, the 
addition enhanced instead of detracting from its 
elegance. It was built in 1196 by one of the rulers 
of the Almohades, and dearly was it prized by the 
Moors. When the city was besieged by the Christians, 
its inhabitants petitioned, as one of the conditions of 
surrender, that they should be allowed to destroy both 
the Mosque and its tower ; but the Infante, afterwards 
Alfonso el Sabio, declared that if they touched one 
brick he would put them all to the sword — a menace 
which has preserved to posterity one of the most 
exquisite towers in the world. 

The Moorish erection is square, about 240 feet in 
height, its sides ornamented with the interlacing arches 
so general on all Moorish towers, both here and at 
Toledo. The summit is reached by a succession of 
inclined planes, which turn five-and-thirty times, and 
form a very easy ascent. Light is admitted through 
Moorish windows pierced through the thickness of the 
walls, forming recesses of considerable size. One of 
these is fitted up as a shrine to the Virgin, and a clark- 
eyed maiden, the niece of the old keeper of the tower, 
is its attendant guardian. Seated in the opposite 
recess, or leaning on the open balcony, you may daily 
see the daughter of the Giralda embroidering robes to 
deck the sacred image, or preparing her own for her 
evening occupation — for " la Campanera " is a dancer 
at the Opera. 

In 1568 the present tower was raised another 100 
feet, and the whole surmounted by a gigantic bronze 
figure of Faith, standing on a globe, holding in her 



hand a banner which causes the figure to veer round 
with the wind. Numbers of bells are placed here, all 
named after some saint, according to the usual custom. 
The view from this tower, although it does not offer the 
grandeur of mountain scenery, is very charming. It 
presents a bright and sunny picture, and includes many 
objects of great interest. Underneath, and attached to 
the very walls of the Giralda, is the Cathedral with its 
flying buttresses and decorated pinnacles, and around 
is a chaos of tiled roofs intermingled with terraces. 
Here and there an open space may be discerned, indi- 
cating a square, but not a street is to be seen, as from 
their extreme narrowness nothing but a small division 
is perceptible between the houses. The town stands in 
an extensive plain, on the left bank of the river, which 
flows in numerous windings through its olive-clothed 
banks. The opposite suburb, Triana, is connected with 
Seville by an iron bridge only lately completed. 
Beyond Triana rises a low ridge of well-cultivated 
hills, crowned by snow-white villages. San Juan de 
Alfarache, with its ruined? convent, overhanging the 
river ; Castilleja de la Cuesta, where Hernan Cortes 
breathed his last ; Santi Ponce, with its dilapidated 
monastery, where repose the ashes of Guzman el 
Bueno ; Italica, the birthplace of Trajan and of Adrian, 
with its amphitheatre, which is all that remains to tell 
of its Roman founders ; beyond, the distant plains 
bounded by the faint outline of the Sierra Morena. 
The eye sweeps round the plain, which is encircled 
by rising ground, where stand the white houses of 
Carmona ; nearer, the towers of the old Moorish castle 
of Alcala de Guadaira crown the heights ; in the 
distance the jagged outline of the Ronda-chain ; and, 
far far away, in the blue horizon to the west, where 
earth and sky seem to blend together, the river loses 



itself in the flat plains which stretch to the sea-coast. 
The country all around is covered with olive and 
Orange-groves to the very walls of Seville. Just out- 
side lies an open space — the Campo Santo, now 
crowded in spring with the gay multitudes who 
assemble for the fair ; little dreaming over the scenes 
enacted in former days, and careless of the fact that 
there the Inquisition held its Autos de Fe. 

Such is the pleasant prospect which greets the 
traveller as he gazes on the scene around from the 
famed Giralda. From this height a miniature view . 
can be obtained of the distant bull ring. It is a 
convenient post for those whose susceptibility or 
principle forbids their being present at such a spectacle 
as a bull-fight, and yet whose curiosity would fain be 
gratified. From here they can view it, divested of its 
horrors ; and I have known more than one traveller, 
and reverend divines among the number, who, con- 
sidering it wrong to attend such an amusement on a 
Sunday, yet mounted up to have a peep at it from 
this lofty tower. Here, on the summit of the Giralda, 
the mind goes back to meditate on the past history of 
this far-famed city, where each succeeding race has left 
some impress of its sway, and as the eye wanders over 
the panorama and rests upon the various objects 
around, the mind reads a tale in the different edifices 
within view, and sees all the various changes in these 
living pages of history. 

Seville was a Roman town, made into a capital by 
Julius Csesar, who is said to have raised its walls, and 
who gave it the name of Romula. When the Gothic 
sway existed in the Peninsula it was a favourite 
residence of the sovereigns. But they passed away, 
and were succeeded by the Moslem, who has stanrped 
his seal on the buildings around. The tower of the 



Giralda itself, and many others rising above the closely 
packed roofs of the town, speak of their rule ; they too 
have vanished, but they have left ample traces of their 
passage. Cordoba was their capital, but after the fall 
of the Omeyah dynasty, Seville became the centre of 
one of those independent sovereignties which sprang 
up when dissensions became rife amongst them. As 
the eye looks down from the Giralda, it rests upon 
Moorish tracery and horse-shoe arches, while above 
it beholds the portion added by the Christians, sur- 
mounted by a statue of Faith. This edifice, commenced 
by the followers of Mohammed, crowned and completed 
by the servants of Christ, recalls the time wheu the 
great St. Ferdinand sat down with all his host before 
the walls of Seville. It was in 1247 that the sovereign 
of Castile, elated with the conquest of Cordoba and 
other towns, laid siege to Seville, and after many a deed 
of prowess had been performed, it surrendered on the 
23rd Nov., 1248. 

There, on the very spot where the Mosque once 
stood, rises now the temple dedicated to the faith of 
the conqueror, the grandest edifice that man has raised 
for the worship of his Maker. There they are, side by 
side — the triumph of the Christian and the Moor. The 
most striking view of the exterior of the Cathedral is 
seen from the gate of the Alcazar, which is close by, 
and whose eastern architecture speaks again of the 
domination of both races in this city ; its Moorish 
patios and Alhambra-like traceries still attracting the 
admiration of the traveller. Another large square 
building rises close behind the Cathedral, marking 
another epoch in Spanish history — the Lonja or 
Exchange, a master-piece of Herrera's, raised in 
the reign of Philip II., when the daily increasing 
commerce of the New World compelled her merchants 



to provide themselves with some place of meeting. It 
was then that Seville prospered ; but from that period 
her splendour has decreased ; and the tasteless edifice 
of San Telino, with its leaden roofs rising above the 
trees of the great promenade, tells of the decline of 
taste in the eighteenth century. What monument will 
rise in the nineteenth ? Alas, for poetry and romance ! 
a railway station will probably stamp it with its iron 
hand, and the tall chimneys of some gas or chemical 
works spring up to rival the Giralda — at least in 

Sadly matter-of-fact is this our age ; and who can 
tell which were the wiser in their generation, the races 
past or present ; those who devoted their fortunes and 
their lives to the erection of religious edifices and 
matchless churches, or those who, caring for nothing 
but money-making, sacrifice all at the feet of Mammon? 
Everything has its extremes, and may not we be going 
too much into the latter ? " People loved God more in 
those days than they do now," said an old Castilian 
peasant to me one day, as I was admiring the superb 
facade of a now dilapidated convent. There was more 
meaning in that simple speech than he dreamt of. 
However, Spain must go on, for now she is in a tran- 
sition state ; she has neither the piety of past ages, nor 
the practical enterprise of the present. Nothing could 
tend more to improve the country than the establish- 
ment of great main lines of railway, and the formation 
of good roads in parts which are now almost unat- 
tainable, from the want of communication. She has 
immense wealth in the countless ores of her Sierras, 
and the rich produce of her land, teeming with grain 
and oil ; but she wants — to use a common-place of the 
day — some means of developing her resources, under 
the guidance of a wise and honest government. This 

L 2 


peep at past ages from the top of the Giralda has led 
to a very matter-of-fact reflection on the present ; and 
the dissertation, which began with the works of Julius 
Csesar, has ended with those of Stephenson. The latter 
have not, however, yet been raised on the ruins of the 
former ; and while the Spaniards are talking of all the 
roads that are to bind the extremities of the Peninsula 
in a network of iron, we may as well satisfy ourselves 
with taking a glance at Seville as it is, without specu- 
lating on what she might, or hereafter may be. 

The whole square pile of buildings, comprising the 
Cathedral, Giralda, Sagrario or parish church and 
chapels, is raised on a sort of platform, round which 
runs a broad pavement ascended by steps. An old 
Moorish doorway, called the Puerta del Perdon, 
washed, not white but yellow, and decorated with 
Christian saints, leads into the orange court which 
formerly graced the entrance to the Mosque. The 
fountain used by the Moors still exists, and on one 
side is a pulpit, where San Vicente de Ferrer, the 
great Valencian saint, used to preach. A side-door 
under a covered gallery opens into the Cathedral. On 
first entering, from the bright light outside, it seems 
hardly possible to pierce the darkness which pervades 
this wondrous pile ; but a few moments suffice to 
render it more distinct, and then it gradually discloses 
itself in all its vast sublimity. 

At length the eye, attuned to the scene, begins to 
pierce the dimly lighted aisles ; the massive pillars 
that support its vaulted roof come forth from the 
gloom which shrouded them; the gilded rejas of the 
altar and the choir, the chequered marble pavement, 
the side-chapels beneath the lofty arches, stand 
revealed ; and the mind, disturbed by no meretricious 
ornaments or frivolous details, seizes on the whole. 


Awed and wonderstruck by the solemn grandeur of 
this unmatched Cathedral, you stand and watch the 
lights which play across the aisles, as the rays of the 
sun pour through the rich windows of painted glass, 
illuminating with rainbow hues the portions on which 
they fall. Cold indeed must be the heart, which does 
not feel that here he may worship God in a temple 
worthy of his faith. The massive proportions of the 
editice, the dark colour of the stone, the absence of all 
ornament or detail, the mysterious light which pervades 
the whole, all combine to produce an impression which 
must for ever be stamped in indelible characters on 
the memory. 

The forms of Gothic architecture, which bear the 
mind soaring heavenwards, always appear more in 
harmony with the Christian faith than any other ; and 
a temple like this impresses the mind with feelings 
which are never experienced even beneath the stately 
dome of St. Peter's. The towering piers, the pointed 
arches losing themselves in the groined vaults above, 
are doubly felt amid the gloom which reigns in Seville 
Cathedral, rendering every object so undefined, and 
leaving full scope to the imagination to dwell on all 
the fancied significations of its design ; spiritualising 
each aspiring line, and discovering a thousand meanings 
of which the architect himself but little dreamed. 

And who raised this edifice ? History has not pre- 
served his name. The architect who designed the 
plans remains unknown, although several are men- 
tioned as having superintended the works during their 
progress. In 1401 the Dean and Chapter, and other 
dignitaries of the cathedral of Seville, met to decide on 
the erection of a new church, the one they had, the 
ancient Mosque, threatening to fall. After due deli- 
beration, they decided on building a cathedral so fair 



and beautiful that it should be without an equal ; and 
should the rents not suffice for its construction, they 
would give all that was required, and thus devote 
their fortunes to the service of their God. Above one 
hundred years were occupied in its erection, and it was 
not until 1519 that the edifice was completed. 

The nave rises to the height of 146 feet. There are 
six side aisles ; four are of equal height, although not 
so lofty as the nave ; and this circumstance adds 
peculiarly to the grandeur of the Cathedral. The two 
lateral aisles are railed off, and divided into chapels. 
It is not built in the shape of a cross, but a simple 
parallelogram, the form of the Mosque on whose site it 
was erected. It is not finished with a cupola, as such 
edifices generally are, but the groining of the vaulted 
roof between the high altar and the choir, which here 
rises to the height of 170 feet, is elaborately ornamented 
with rich Gothic tracery, the remainder being quite 
plain. As usual, the length and breadth is sadly 
broken by the choir, which being in the centre of the 
nave, intercepts the view, and renders it impossible for 
the eye to embrace the whole. The high altar is 
enclosed by a gorgeous screen of iron-work, richly gilt; 
it was completed in 1533, and is the work of a Fray 
Francisco de Salamanca. The public are not permitted 
to enter within its precincts ; but on great occasions, 
when the members of the Ayuntamiento attend, they 
have seats within the rails : this was the place formerly 
occupied by the Tribunal of the Inquisition. The 
Infanta, when she attends any service at the Cathedral, 
has a throne erected for her on the right of the altar, 
likewise within the reja. Behind the high altar rises 
one of the most splendid retablos in Spain. It is 
carved in alerce, a wood which used to abound, 
although it has now entirely disappeared from the face 



of the country. It is of Gothic architecture, divided 
into thirty-six niches, each filled with scenes in the life 
of Our Saviour ; the figures are nearly of the size of 
life, and are most exqviisitely sculptured. It is a 
triumph of art, but unfortunately the gioom which 
pervades the building prevents its being seen to 

There is something unutterably grand in this temple ; 
no tawdry images — no tinsel ornaments detract from 
its simplicity. At all times, and at all hours of the 
day, it discloses some fresh beauty — at early morning, 
when the rising sun casts his beams through the 
painted glass, gilding here and there some giant pillar, 
and a few early worshippers are scattered through its 
aisles, attending to the mass celebrated in the different 
chapels : — at mid-day, when the doors are closed, and it 
rises in all its grand proportions, without a living being 
to disturb the tranquil grandeur of the scene : — and, 
at eve, when the varied tints of the setting sun, shining 
upon the windows, make them glow with the jewelled 
light of emeralds and rubies, and the building itself 
becomes obscured in the growing darkness. 

On such festivals as Easter Sunday, when the church 
displays all her pomp and ceremonial, the scene during 
high mass is unequalled. Then the thrilling tones 
of the organ fall upon the ear, in deep devotional 
sounds, re-echoing through its lofty aisles ; the sun, 
streaming in, lights up the crucifix above the retablo, 
while clouds of incense ascend to the vaulted roof, and 
the dense throng around kneel in mute and silent 
worship at the elevation of the consecrated host. 
And again, when the host is manifested, and the altar 
is decked with its costly statues and splendid frontal 
of solid silver, illumined by countless tapers and 
crowned by its jewelled remonstrance, the effect is 



magical ; for the rest of the building is enveloped in 
the deepest gloom, and the altar itself stands out like 
a pyramid of light amid the darkness which surrounds 
it. It is beautiful at all times ; it leads the mind to 
contemplation ; a sentiment of religious awe takes 
possession of the soul, and you feel it a privilege to 
worship the Almighty in such a temple. 

Behind the Capilla Mayor, in a large and lofty 
chapel, but not of Gothic architecture, repose the ashes 
of Saint Ferdinand, who won Seville from the Moor. 
He died here soon after the Conquest in 1252. His 
son, Alfonso el Sabio, is likewise buried here, as well as 
Maria de Padilla, the celebrated mistress of Pedro the 
Cruel. The body of Saint Ferdinand lies before the 
high altar, and in the retablo is placed an image of the 
Virgen de los Reyes, the favourite guardian of the 
pious monarch. Another smaller image of the Virgin, 
called St. Maria de la Sede, to whom the cathedral is 
dedicated, stands upon the high altar in the Capilla 
Mayor. The Virgen de los Reyes is said to be of 
miraculous origin. 

During the siege, Saint Ferdinand dreamed of a 
lovely statue of the Madonna, and summoned all the 
artists of his court to realise the vision of celestial 
beauty which had appeared to him. Many tried to 
satisfy their sovereign, but in vain ; at length one 
presented himself, and promised to produce a statue 
such as was required. He stipulated that he should 
have a house to himself and provisions for a fortnight, 
and that no one should disturb him during that period. 
The given time elapsed, even more passed away, but 
there were not any signs of the sculptor, and the 
impatient sovereign ordered the house to be broken 
into ; the provisions were found untouched, and the 
image of the Virgin completed, identical with the one 



which had appeared to Saint Ferdinand in his dream. 
But the artist was gone, no trace of him could be 
discovered, and the natural conclusion arrived at was 
that it had been the work of supernatural hands, and 
the image was reverenced accordingly. No one has 
ever ventured to examhie this statue, to discover of 
what material it is made ; and although Spaniards are 
on rather free and easy terms with such images in 
general, they have left this one untouched. Scandal, 
however, whispers that, once upon a time, an inquisitive 
canon, blessed with a curiosity, most unfairly considered 
an essential attribute of the weaker sex, actually dared 
to take an unholy peep and touch the embroidered 
garments : his temerity was punished with an attack 
of blindness, which put an effectual end to his 

In the adjoining chapel of San Pedro is a retablo 
containing some beautiful pictures by Zurbaran, but 
this part of the cathedral, in particular, is so dreadfully 
dark, that it is quite impossible to see them properly. 
A small altar, near the principal entrance from the 
Orange Court, in the north transept, contains a lovely 
painting of the Virgin and Child by Cano. This is one 
of the gems of the Cathedral — a heavenly spiritualised 
Virgin, like the Madonnas of the Italian school, ideal 
and beautiful ; a countenance such as becomes the 
blessed mother of our Lord. On the same side, in the 
chapel containing the baptismal font, is the celebrated 
St. Anthony of Murillo, by many considered his chef- 
d ccuvre. The Infant Saviour appears to the Saint amid 
a glory of cherubs, lovely as such creations of Murillo's 
generally are ; the Saint kneels before the holy vision. 

Over an altar near the grand entrance is a lovely 
picture by the same great master ; the Guardian Angel, 
who is leading a child by the hand. The child is 



exquisite, looking up with a sweet confiding expression 
to the angel, who points with his hand to heaven. 
None of these pictures can, however, be really seen and 
examined ; the darkness in the Cathedral may add to 
its grandeur as a whole, but it effectually conceals the 
beauty of the paintings which adorn its chapels. There 
are likewise two remarkable pictures by Luis de Vargas, 
one of the Nativity, the other called, " La Generation," 
representing Adam and the patriarchs looking up to 
the Virgin, who appears with her Son in the clouds. 
It is better known by the name of " La Gamba," from 
the masterly foreshortening of Adam's leg. Vargas 
was born in 1502, and studied for many years in Italy ; 
he is one of the earliest painters of renown in the 
Seville school, and his works bear more the stamp of 
the Italian style than the generality of those of Spanish 

A gigantic San Cristobal adorns the wall, close to 
the altar, over which the Gamba is painted. It is the 
production of one Mateo Perey Alesio, and is upwards 
of thirty feet in height. This Saint is always repre- 
sented crossing a river, with a palm-branch in his right 
hand, bearing the Infant Christ on his shoulder, and a 
hermitage visible in the distance. The figure of this 
Saint is frequently painted at the entrance of churches, 
for when St. Christopher was martyred, he prayed that 
all who were present and believed in the Saviour should 
not suffer from tempest, earthquake, or fire. Hence, 
sprung up the superstition that, "Whosoever shall 
behold the image of St. Christopher, on that day shall 
not faint nor fail." The legend, which has given rise 
to the generally received representation of him, is 
perhaps one of the most beautiful allegories pour- 
trayed by Christian Art. It is charmingly described by 
Mrs. Jameson in her " Sacred and Legendary Art." 



It is strange how few interest themselves in these 
legends of the early Christian Church ; and how we 
pass, unheeded, subjects which have engrossed the 
pencil of the greatest painters, with the satisfactory 
reflection, that " they refer to some saint or another," 
never caring to know the origin of the story, or learn 
what beautiful allegory may he concealed beneath the 
tale these paintings are meant to illustrate. 

A very handsome chapel is dedicated to the Virgen 
de la Antigua. The silver railings, and other ornaments 
of the altar, are very costly. In the retablo is an 
old Byzantine picture, which is said to have remained 
in the Mosque during the whole of the Moorish do- 
minion. In an adjoining chapel is a fine old tomb of a 
prelate, and the retablo is decorated with a statue of 
St. Hermenigild, by Montafies. 

In the nave, between the grand entrance and the 
choir, in that portion of the church which they call 
in Spain the trascoro, lie the ashes of Fernando, the 
son of Christopher Columbus. On a marble slab let 
into the pavement is a Latin epitaph, and, beneath, 
the arms, with the well-known inscription, " A 
Castilla y a Leon nuevo mundo dio Colon." These 
words have given rise to the often-repeated assertion 
that Columbus himself was buried here, whereas his 
bones really rest in the Havannah, in the new world 
which he discovered. On each side of the stone are 
engraved two strange-looking ships, copies of the 
caravels which bore the great navigator across the 
waters of the Atlantic. 

Such are some of the principal objects of interest of 
which this wondrous edifice can boast ; and besides 
these, are the Chapter-house and Sacristy. In the 
latter may still be found some remains of the treasures 
it once contained, of jewels, and gold and silver plate, 



before the hand of the invader despoiled the churches 
of their wealth. The Sacristy is a fine building in the 
Grseco-romano style. Here is kept the beautiful silver 
Custodia of Juan de Arfe. It is in the form of a temple, 
and of exquisite workmanship. The Arfes were the 
Cellinis of Spain : they flourished in Valladolid about 
the middle of the sixteenth century. In almost all the 
cathedrals some trace of their workmanship is preserved. 
Much, however, was destroyed during the French in- 
vasion, when master-pieces of art, which can never be 
replaced, were melted down or carried away. The 
Custodia is the tabernacle in which the host is deposited 
on Holy Thursday, and where it is carried in procession 
through the streets on the Festival of the Corpus. 
There are some beautiful chalices and reliquaries of 
elaborate workmanship ; and, amongst many valuable 
objects, the most interesting are the keys presented to 
Saint Ferdinand upon the surrender of Seville. 

The identical key said to have been delivered up by 
the Moslem chieftain is made of iron, and contains the 
following inscription in Arabic : — " May Allah permit 
the empire of Islam to endure for ever in this city." 
Ancient authorities say the purport of the inscription 
is the same as that upon the silver key, which has in 
Spanish, " Dios abrira, Rey entrara." The latter was 
presented to Ferdinand by the Jews after the conquest. 
The former interpretation seems far more suitable to 
an Arabic inscription, and such it has been decided to 
be by that celebrated scholar Don Pascual de Gayangos, 
according to the statement of Amador de los Rios, in 
his " Sevilla Pintoresca." 

A splendid cross used for grand ceremonials, the 
superb stand for the candles used during matins on the 
three last days of the Holy Week, and the gorgeous 
vestments of the clergy with the frontals of the altar, 



are among the things worth examining in this museum 
of art. The Chapter-house is a beautiful plateresque 
saloon of the same date as the Sacristy, and is adorned 
with paintings by Murillo, Cespedes, and Pacheco. At 
the opposite corner of the Cathedral stands the Sagrario, 
or parish church. It is a large oblong building, not 
remarkable for anything particular. 

There is one most singular ceremony which takes 
place in this cathedral, and one quite peculiar to Seville 
— that is, the dancing before the high altar during the 
octaves of the Festivals of the Corpus and the Concep- 
tion, and the three last days of carnival. The principal 
actors in this extraordinary scene are the Seises ; boys 
belonging to the cathedral, whose number was originally 
six, as their name indicates, but they consist in reality 
of ten. They are placed in the open space in front of 
the altar within the iron screens. Five stand on either 
side, opposite to each other ; they begin a slow and 
measured movement, singing hymns to the patroness 
of Spain, and keep time with their ivory castanets, which 
form a strange accompaniment to the orchestra and 
strike one as very discordant with the holiness of the 
building. They dance for about half-an-hour, and then 
the magnificent organs pour forth their swelling notes 
through the vaulted aisles, the curtain veils the host, 
and the bells of the Giralda ring, while the throng who 
had assembled to witness the dancing leave the 
Cathedral. These boys are dressed in the costume of 
the seventeenth century ; they wear tunics of white 
and blue silk, their hats are looped up with a plume of 
feathers, a scarf is fastened across their shoulders, and 
a silk mantle hangs behind. 

The Cathedral of Seville boasts of being the only one 
where dancing is permitted, but there does not seem 
any authentic account of how such a singular custom 



originated. A tradition in the town traces it to the 
time of the conquest of Seville by the Moors ; they say 
that as the infidels entered the church, a party of 
young men commenced dancing before them and 
continued dancing until they reached the high altar, 
whence one of them took the host, and concealing it in 
his dress, contrived thus to rescue it from the hands 
of the Moslem ; in memory of which they have been 
allowed to dance before it. This is, however, but a 
doubtful legend ; the practice is more generally 
supposed to be a relic of the dances which accompanied 
the Procession of the Corpus in early times. They are 
mentioned, as existing in the Cathedral, in a Papal 
Bull dated 1439. Another story says, that an 
archbishop of Seville, who lived towards the close 
of the seventeenth century, was very anxious to do 
away with the dancing of the Seises as an exhibition 
unbecoming the sanctity of the Cathedral, when the 
Dean and Chapter were so indignant that they sent 
them all off in a ship to Rome to dance before his 
Holiness, in order that he might judge from personal 
experience whether there was anything indecorous in 
their performances. They were allowed to continue, 
and confirmed in their privilege of dancing, with their 
heads covered, before the Sacrament ; but this privilege 
was only to continue so long as the dresses they then 
wore should last, for which reason their costume is 
never entirely renewed, some little patch of the old 
garments still remaining. 

Be it as it may, there they are dancing, as each 
festival returns, before the altar of the Cathedral, to 
the music of the castanets. They belong chiefly to the 
middle class, the sons of tradesmen. They cannot 
aspire to the post of seises after they are ten years 
old ; it seems the Chapter are not such good judges of 



music as formerly, for the voices of the seises do not 
now reflect much credit upon their selection, and they 
used to be the best voices in the choir. 

The sendees in the Cathedral are performed with all 
becoming solemnity. There is generally a sermon 
preached on Simday morning during the celebration of 
high mass : these discourses are generally very good, 
and the text is almost always taken from the Gospel 
for the day, the preacher seldom touching on any 
polemical point. Sermons of the latter description are 
generally reserved for the Novenarios, or nine days 
celebration of particular festivals, when the most 
eloquent preachers are selected. Of all European 
languages, perhaps Spanish is that which strikes the 
ear as being the noblest in the pulpit. The grandeur 
of its sound, its majestic high-flown phrases, the gravity 
and solemnity of its tone, render it indeed the language 
for oratory. The very grandiloquent style, which 
sounds to English ears so absurd in the common 
affairs of life, becomes an additional beauty in fervid 
discourse. Some of their preachers can boast of 
wonderful eloquence ; they work upon the imagination 
by their poetical and enthusiastic language, which 
carries one away at the moment, although, upon reflec- 
tion, there is little substance in their sermons. Indeed, 
the critical and argumentative does not suit the genius 
of the language. They are all delivered as if extempore, 
but in many instances prepared with great care and 

There are two very interesting historical sermons 
preached during the year, the one on the anniversary 
of the surrender of Seville, the other on the Sunday 
following the proclamation of the Bull of the Santa 
Cruzada, Both these occasions give the preacher 
ample field for enlarging on the ancient glories of Spam, 



the triumph of Castilian arms, and the untiring zeal 
which never relaxed in its efforts until the Crescent was 
subdued, and which obtained for her inhabitants favours 
not granted to any other European nation. The Bull 
of the Santa Cruzada was granted by Innocent III. to 
the Spanish crusaders, and is a dispensation which 
allows of Spaniards eating meat in Lent and other fast 
days. It is generally bought for the enormous sum of 
five reals, about a shilling, but the amount should vary 
according to the income. The money thus raised went 
at first to the objects of the crusade, and subsequently 
to the Church ; but it now forms no inconsiderable 
item in the yearly budget, swelling considerably the 
coffers of the State. A Spaniard has defined this Bull 
to be " the worst and dearest paper sold in Spain." 

The clergy may boast in their pulpits of the manner 
in which Spain still upholds the faith of her ancestors. 
In name, it is true, it does ; but in deed, alas ! how 
little of its purity remains. Among the lower classes 
it may still linger, and in early morn the country 
churches may yet be crowded with devotees ; but in the 
towns, and among the upper and middle classes, all 
true religious feeling seems almost dead. To outward 
ceremonial they still conform ; but, as to faith and real 
belief, they have little now remaining ; the influence of 
the clergy has passed away, and Spaniards who were 
never loth to indulge in a laugh at the priesthood, 
have ended by looking with indifference on religion 
itself. The tone of their conversation is sad to listen 
to. Many may have been the causes, but surely a great 
deal must be attributed to the clergy themselves ; were 
their own conduct what it ought to be, had they incul- 
cated the spirit of their faith by their words and 
illustrated it by their actions, they would not have 
fallen so low as they have done ; nor would they have 


brought such discredit on the religion they profess. I 
speak of course of the body, for, doubtless, there always 
have been among them, and still are, many estimable men. 

The spirit of intolerance which has forbidden the out- 
ward exercise of any but the dominant faith in Spain, has 
forced those who could not bow with true belief to its 
doctrines to become quite incredulous, veiling their 
unbelief by an outward regard to ceremonial, while 
scepticism had taken possession of their hearts. Let all 
be allowed the free exercise of their opinions and the 
country would gain in many respects. The clergy would 
become more circumspect in their conduct, and cast off 
a thousand idle practices which disfigure the Church of 
Spain. They are fatally mistaken if they imagine by 
encouraging such things, they gain more hold • of the 
people, even apart from the immorality of deception. 
They may over the ignorant who believe all they are told, 
but those who have sense and judgment of their own, 
begin to doubt ; and when doubt has once entered into 
the human mind, who can tell where it will stop ? Will 
it be content to brush away the mere idle practices, and 
leave the essence untouched ? The Bravo Murillo govern- 
ment have been endeavouring to revert, at least to some 
extent, to the former state of things, and restore the 
power of the clergy by re-establishing the regular orders. 
For this purpose peace was made with Rome, whose 
Sovereign Pontiff had not looked upon Spain with a very 
favourable eye since the period when Church property 
had been confiscated. A concordat has been signed ; 
convents and monasteries are to be allowed in Spain, and 
the nunneries are once more permitted to receive inmates 
within their walls. 

A perfect mania has seized on all the young ladies since 
the late permission was accorded, and the convents are 
now filling fast. Between' three and four hundred have 




entered in Seville alone, although how many may remain 
to take the black veil is still to be seen. The nuns who 
were in the convents at the time of their dissolution 
might have left and returned to the world, but hardly any 
throughout Spain availed themselves of the permission. 
Those who did so were allowed a peseta a day, barely a 
shilling, and few can form any idea of the misery that 
was experienced within those walls for some years after- 
wards ; their small stipend not even paid, and many who 
had no kind relations to depend on for assistance were 
half starving. But they still remained within their con- 
vents, and sad must have been the feelings of the 
wretched nuns to find themselves thus reduced to beg- 
gary ; many who had, perhaps, brought a rich dowry 
with them. The convents were fast becoming deserted, 
for the nuns were dying off, and no new ones allowed to 
enter ; now, however, their numbers are increasing 
rapidly. All who take the veil are obliged to have a 
fortune of fourteen thousand reals, about one hundred and 
fifty pounds. 

We went to see one take the white veil in the convent 
of Santa Paula, which was formerly very wealthy ; and 
where those of noble blood only were received. The 
portal of the church is pretty and quaint, a sort of Gothic 
architecture, the whole encircled by a row of azulejos and 
the " Tanto Monta," the motto of the Catholic sovereigns. 
The convent church is very handsome within ; the grating 
which divides the portion allotted to the public from that 
devoted to the nuns faces the high altar. There were but 
few people present, the novelty of the thing having now 
subsided. The bride herself was dressed in white, and 
very badly dressed she was. She entered the convent 
at once, her friends and relations remaining outside in 
the church. There was an orchestra which played 
polkas ; and the curtain being lowered before the 


1 ().'} 

reja prevented all view of what was going on in the 
interior. When the curtain was withdrawn, we saw a 
dim, mysterious scene behind the reja ; the nuns, with 
their black veils ranged down the sides of the convent 
chapel, each holding a torch in her hand ; the novices, 
with their white veils, standing in the centre ; behind 
them, a table, on which was placed a small figure of the 
Saviour as a child, surrounded by flowers and all kinds 
of ornaments. The lady herself moved about, and came 
forward several times to the grating with a taper in her 
hand ; the organ played, and the nuns were supposed to 
be singing, but the music effectually drowned their voices. 
The curtain fell and rose again, and the second act com- 
menced ; the novice appeared in the dress of the order, 
with an enormous crown of silver tinsel and roses upon 
her head. She said farewell to her friends, and then the 
door was shut, and she went round to all the nuns to 
embrace them. 

There is something sad and solemn in that kiss, that 
welcome as it were to a new life, that breaking of all 
earthly ties, that complete and entire devotion of the soul 
to God. It is an. impressive sight, and one cannot help 
meditating whether the principal actor in the scene has 
really thought seriously over the life on which she is about 
to enter ; and yet no one present seemed to view it in a 
solemn light. They were laughing and talking, and 
making various remarks on everything around them ; the 
attention, of the women more particularly, being divided 
between the dress of the novice and that of the image on 
the table. However, her noviciate is but commencing, 
and she has yet time to return to the world, if she finds 
this life of seclusion disagreeable to her. One young 
lady, who took the white veil a short time ago, left the 
convent at the expiration of four days ! Nuns, however, 
seem very happy, and do enjoy a little gossip as much as 

M 2 



any people I ever saw. Their delight when visitors 
arrive is unbounded, and I believe they know all the 
scandal of the town better than those who live in it. 
Their conversation is amusingly simple, and they will 
dilate for an hour on the dresses they make for their 
images, and the manner in which they deck out the altar ; 
in fact the whole tone of their behaviour is childish and 
frivolous. A nun I went to see one day, kept me for an 
hour expatiating on the beauty of an image of some saint 
which the sisterhood had purchased at a pawnbroker's 
shop. They had heard of it, and bought it for forty reals, 
and then she added : " Now we have put him on a new 
dress, you can form no idea how nice and pretty he 
looks !" 



Magnifico es el Alcazar 
Con que se ilustra Sevilla 
Deliciosos sus jardiues 
Su escelsa portada rica. 


paintings CHURCH of ban ISIDORO MCSEO LA caridad — murillo's HOUSE DEAN 





The church of San Isidoro contains a chef-d'oeuvre 
by Roelas, representing the saint dying in the church 
of San Vicente. It is a splendid composition, but placed 

m 3 



in a light which renders it difficult to appreciate its 
various beauties. Roelas was one of the first treat 
painters of the Seville school; he was born about 1560, 
and, like many others who shed a lustre on the arts and 
literature of Spain, belonged to the Church, and held a 
prebendal stall in the collegiate church of Olivarez. Most 
of the best pictures, which were in the convents of Seville, 
have been collected into that of the Merced, now converted 
into a museum, whose walls are adorned by some of the 
choicest creations of Murillo. For some time they found 
shelter in the cathedral, but in 1480 were removed to the 
convent, which had been prepared for their reception. 
Some have been arranged in the old church belonging 
to the building, but the greater number are placed in some 
of the rooms on the upper floor. The convent of the 
Merced was built by St. Ferdinand ; it contains two lovely 
patios, and in the centre of the larger one are some 
gigantic weeping willows. The hall, to which travellers 
naturally turn with an impatient step, is that which 
contains the gems of Murillo's master hand — seventeen in 

Here the walls glow with the paintings of him who is 
justly considered the pride of Seville. Here may be seen 
the varied forms of beauty, in which the great master 
delighted to portray the Virgin ; now we behold her 
kneeling in meek and humble resignation listening to 
the joyful intelligence that the angel is conveying to the 
handmaiden of the Lord ; now appearing in turn to some 
kneeling saint in a glorious halo of life and light as the 
Queen of Heaven, surrounded by cherubs such as Murillo 
only could depict. There is the figure of Saint Francis 
clasping the dying Saviour on the Cross, a masterpiece of 
drawing; the hand of the Redeemer rests upon the 
shoulder of the saint, whose eyes are fixed upon the 
Cross with a look of extatic devotion. 



Here hangs Murillo's own favourite canvas, the Santo 
Tomas de Villanueva ; it is indeed a glorious painting — 
the dignity of the prelate contrasting so forcibly with the 
squalid poverty of those who are waiting for his gifts ; 
that urchin beggar-boy in front, the good bishop, whose 
face one cannot look on without love, and the life-like 
mendicant kneeling at his feet and watching with avidity 
the opening palm. Then the eye rests upon the soft and 
vapoury representation of St. Felix of Cantalicio, an ex- 
quisite production ; and so is St. Anthony kneeling before 
a rock, on which the Child appears seated on an open 
book, pointing to the heavenly vision which appears 
above. The two patron saints of Seville are fine powerful 
figures, as they ought to be, considering that they hold 
the Giralda between them, rather an unwieldy burden 
for the hands of two fair damsels ; they bear the palm- 
branch — the emblem of martyrdom — and the earthen- 
ware jars at their feet recal their trade as potters of 
Triana. Painted indeed with all the energy of life is 
the small Virgin and Child, better known as the Ser- 
villeta, from having been executed on a dinner napkin and 
presented as a parting gift to the cook of the Capuchin 
convent. The Child itself is starting out of the canvas, 
but brilliant as is the colouring of this renowned picture, 
I think one would not admire it less were it called by 
any other name. There is not anything heavenly about 
the expression of the Virgin ; on the contrary, all speaks 
of earth. 

There are many other pictures scattered upon the dif- 
ferent walls of this convent, but none hardly claiming any 
notice. Some are most irresistibly ludicrous, represent- 
ing all the sad temptations to which poor St. Francis and 
others were exposed during their sojourn in " this world 
of woe." It would be hard to repress a smile at some of 
these strange productions, where saints appear persecuted 



by his Satanic Majesty in every variety of disguise, not 
unfrequently selecting that of woman, who " with eyes of 
most unholy blue," endeavours to distract their attention. 
The costume too of these extraordinary compositions is not 
the least amusing part, for these early painters set aside all 
regard of time, and place, and dress, all being indiscrimi- 
nately decked out in knightly costumes, and other things 
equally preposterous ; as, for instance, in a picture of the 
Annunciation, alluded to by Pacheco, in which the Virgin 
had a rosary and a pair of spectacles hung up against the 

In the church, now no longer used, are some two or 
three fine paintings. One the celebrated Apotheosis of 
St. Thomas of Aquinas, considered to be the master- 
piece of Zurbaran. This painter was born in Estre- 
madura in 1598; he was a pupil of Roelas, and painted 
the friars of the Carthusian order with as much zest as 
his master did the disciples of Loyola. As a composition, 
this picture is not pleasing ; it is divided into two por- 
tions ; above appears the saint, below him are the four 
doctors of the Latin Church seated upon clouds, while in 
the lower part of the picture you see Charles V. kneeling 
before a table surrounded by bishops and courtiers. The 
transition between the upper and lower portion is harsh. 
Murillo's aerial tone is wanting here ; but the colouring is 
splendid, and the robes of the Imperial Csesar are worthy 
of the Venetian school. There are other paintings by the 
same master, and a fine Martyrdom of St. Andrew by 
Roelas. Above the Zurbaran hangs a grand Conception, 
by Murillo, of colossal size. 

There is now a small catalogue sold at the Museum 
which enlightens the world, at all events, as to the names 
of the pictures and their authors ; and even that piece of 
information could not be procured a few years ago. 
There are a few specimens of painted sculpture here ; 



the St. Jerome of Torrigiano and the St. Dominick of 
Montanes, the former in terra-eotta, the latter in wood. 
Tomgiano was the same who executed the sepulchre of 
our Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey. He died in the 
dungeons of the Inquisition at Seville, where he was 
thrown on account of having- excited the anger of one of 
the nobles of that city. Montanes was a native of 
Alcala ; he was born towards the close of the sixteenth 
century. Many proofs of his extraordinary talent as a 
sculptor are to be seen at Seville. One of his most 
famous productions was Christ Bearing the Cross, 
which he admired so much himself, that he always 
stood at the corner of the street to see it pass when 
it was taken out in procession. It belonged formerly to 
this convent ; now it adorns the church of San Miguel. 
Some fine carved seats, which were in the choir of the 
Carthusian convent, are also placed here. The Museum 
is only open to the public on Sundays and fete days, 
but travellers can always obtain admission by applying 
for a ticket. 

In the hospital of the Caridad some few of Murillo's 
chef-d'eeuvres are still preserved. This is an establish- 
ment for bed-ridden people, founded in the seventeenth 
century by a devout and pious knight of Calatrava, named 
Manara. He lies buried in a vault within, and in com- 
pliance with his wish, there is an inscription placed on a 
slab at the church door, recording that " there lie the bones 
and ashes of the worst man that ever lived." The pretty 
chapel was decorated with many gems of Murillo's, 
and although some of them were carried off to adorn 
the walls of Soult's mansion in Paris, a few still 
remain; the two most famous being Moses striking 
the Rock, and the Miracle of the loaves and fishes. 
In the latter the figure of the Saviour is not suffi- 
ciently prominent. Nothing can be more majestic than 



the figure of Moses ; and the whole composition is 

One cannot help being struck by the singular resem- 
blance borne by the rock to the one still pointed out to 
travellers by the monks of Sinai as the scene of the 
miracle. These pictures, however, are seen to great 
disadvantage, hung, as they are, so far from the eye, and 
not by any means as bright in colouring as those of 
Murillo in general. The large one of San Juan de Dios is 
a powerful painting ; the dark figure of the saint, and the 
sick man he is carrying along with difficulty, appear in 
shadow, while all the light is concentrated on the angel, 
who comes to assist him. This institution is admirably 
conducted, and the patients are attended by Sisters of 
Charity. One day, when we were lingering in the church, 
the sisters were all at their devotions. There was some- 
thing so quiet and so holy about the scene, in that temple 
erected by the hand of charity, adorned with the triumph 
of art, to see those pious women kneeling before the altar 
of Him to whose service they had devoted their fives. 
The Sisterhood of Charity is certainly one of the most 
admirable institutions in the world ; and long may it find 
devotees to fill its ranks, and long may they continue to do 
the good works for which St. Vincent de Paul established 
their order. 

There is yet one place of pilgrimage to be visited in 
Seville, the house w T here Murillo died, now inhabited by 
the Dean, Don Manuel Cepero, a man who has endea- 
voured to preserve the remains of ancient art which still 
grace the city of Seville. In fact almost all that has been 
done of late years owes its existence to him ; he preserved 
the Murillos from ruin by giving them shelter in the 
cathedral ; and he caused the church belonging to the 
University, formerly the Jesuit College, to be arranged for 
the reception of some of the tombs which were about to 



share- the fate of the convent in which they had been erected. 
The church of the University is a fine temple, something 
in the grand and classic style of Herrera, to whom it has 
been attributed ; but it is more generally supposed to have 
been erected by a Jesuit, Bustamante, who flourished in 
the sixteenth century. When the followers of Ignatius 
were banished from Spain by Charles III. in 1767, the 
building was given over to the University ; the best 
pictures were taken from the church, and conveyed to 
the Alcazar, and it remained neglected until the Dean 
thought of turnino; it to account as a museum of art. 
The churregueresque retablos which adorned its walls 
were taken down and replaced by fine monuments from 
the Cartuja and other monastic edifices ; and here are 
many sepulchres of the family of Ribera, Marquises of 
Tarifa, who are now represented by the house of Medina 
Celi. Here, too, may be seen the tomb of the great 
Marquis Duke of Cadiz, who had been interred in the 
Augustine convent in this city. The name of Ponce de 
Leon recals many a passage in the conquest of Granada ; 
an inscription records the date of his death, and the 
transfer of his remains to this church at the expense of 
the present Duke of Osuna, in whom the title of Duke 
of Arcos has merged. This church possesses a fine 
retablo by Roelas, representing a Holy Family w r ith St. 
Ignatius Martyr and St. Ignatius Loyola, the patrons of 
the order. An Annunciation, by Pacheco, is above it. 
There is also in the church a pulpit in wood, most 
beautifully carved. 

The taste for the fine arts, which prompted the Dean 
to restore the church of the University, has led him to 
take great pride in the house where he resides, and where 
it is believed Murillo died. It is close to the city wall ; 
and over the cancela, which leads into a pretty patio, is 
placed a portrait of Murillo, with a statement that in that 



house he died. Nothing can exceed the kindness and 
affability with which the Dean escorts travellers over 
his house, which he has filled with pictures, some pos- 
sessing considerable merit, although, perhaps, of doubtful 
authenticity. Murillo was born in Seville in 1017; he 
soon showed a fondness for drawing, and studied under 
Castillo. He used to paint pictures for sale at the weekly 
fair, which still takes place every Thursday near the old 
Alameda, and where every variety of old things is to be 
disposed of amid crowds of urchins, the very originals 
of Murillo's beggar boys. 

Determined to improve himself by travelling, and seeing 
the works of foreign artists, he started for Madrid, where 
he soon advanced under the protection of his great 
countryman, Velasquez, who, like himself, was a native 
of Seville. But he soon returned to his native town, 
and commenced his career of glory by painting the well- 
known pictures in the Franciscan convent. His fame 
was now established, and in course of time he made a 
great step towards the promotion of art by founding an 
academy for painting in Seville, of which he was the first 
president. He died in 1682, after a long life passed in the 
pursuit of his art. 

The mantle of Murillo has not, however, fallen on the 
modern school of Seville ; her painters in the present day 
are not distinguished for talent. Some of them copy well 
the productions of their great master, but the taste for art 
in Spain is not calculated to bring forth and encourage 
genius. Spain has never produced any great landscape 
painters. Strange, that here in the south, where earth 
and sky are so beautiful, men should never have sought 
to copy the scenes before them ; while in northern 
lands, beneath cloudy skies, the study of landscape 
painting should have been followed up with such ardour. 
Spanish art has been more exclusively devoted, than that 



of any other country, to religious subjects ; and the 
natural beauties of her land, the glorious buildings which 
crowd her cities, the picturesque appearance of the 
inhabitants and their dwellings, have found no one to 
transfer all their varied features to the canvas. It is 
indeed true that a devotion to nature seems most innate 
in the lands where she is less lavish of her gifts. It is, 
perhaps, that she is so glorious in these southern climes 
that none can dare to imitate her. 

One of the first places, which travellers generally visit 
after they have seen the cathedral, and the principal paint- 
ings in Seville, is the Alcazar or Palace. Originally built 
by the Moorish conquerors of Seville, it was here that the 
young Abdelasis, the governor of Andalucia, gave his hand 
to the widow of Roderick, and expiated with his life the 
folly of seeking to make himself an independent sovereign. 
But the present palace has little to do with its original 
founders. Although of Arabic architecture, it was raised 
under the superintendence of the Christians, and bears a 
stamp different from the Alhambra. More massive and 
solid in its proportions, it cannot boast of the exquisite 
elegance and miniature beauty of the palace of Granada, 
and however much it may charm upon a first arrival in 
Andalucia, it looks coarse and unfinished to any one who 
is well acquainted with the fairy courts of the Alhambra. 
The Alcazar was built by Pedro the Cruel, who, passion- 
ately fond of everything Moorish, sent for the first 
architects of Granada to come and adorn the palace in his 
favourite Seville. 

It has been added to by almost every Spanish sovereign, 
who at some period or another of his life resided here. 
The patio is very fine, and surrounded by beautiful 
azulejos. The Hall of the Ambassadors opens out of 
it, and is the finest room in the Alcazar ; the ceiling is 
magnificent, as fresh as though the gilding had been put 



on but yesterday, but it is very much disfigured by a 
row of portraits of the Spanish kings, which were placed 
there by Philip II., covering and disfiguring the beautiful 
arabesque ornaments. There is a pretty patio, called 
De las Munecas, which is being completely restored, in 
fact, made all new ; but as in the Alhambra, these repairs 
go on slowly, and seem as interminable as most Spanish 
things. Some of the rooms are entirely spoilt by modern 
restoration, others, by the alterations of former monarchs. 
On the upper floor there is a charming little chapel of 
azulejo work, built by Isabella, and from one of the centre 
rooms, there is a fine view of the Giralda, which makes 
a perfect picture, seen as if through a frame formed by the 
lovely horse-shoe arches and delicate pillars supporting 
them. A fine suite of rooms faces the gardens, but spoiled 
by fire-places — things which were never dreamt of by 
Moorish architects. These walls could tell many a tale of 
horror, for here many of the most cold-blooded murders 
of Pedro the Cruel were committed, more particularly that 
of his brother the Master of Santiago, which has been the 
theme of many a poet. 

The gardens of the Alcazar are as splendid as orange- 
trees and water can make them under such a sun and 
sky ; protected from every breeze, they are broiling in the 
mid-day heat, when even at Christmas one is glad to seek 
the refreshing shade of the orange-trees. There is a 
charming pavilion, all of azulejos, of the time of Charles V., 
where are seats cool and tempting, and it is a pleasure 
merely to sit and do nothing in such a climate ; a 
happiness to live and enjoy existence. In winter the 
orange-trees are laden with their golden fruit, and in 
spring the air is impregnated with the perfume of their 

There are, however, but few flowers, the climate of 
Seville renders it difficult to cultivate them owing to the 



intense heat and dryness of the summer months ; but still, 
there is no doubt, if they cared for them and understood 
their cultivation, they might make a terrestrial Paradise of 
these gardens, more particularly with the abundance of 
water which they can command. As it is, they owe their 
great charm to the orange and lemon trees, the fruit of 
which is not picked till January. I have seen most lovely 
flowers here at Christmas, but they were as rare as they 
were lovely. A high wall, ornamented with rough stone- 
work, skirts these gardens ; there is a walk along the top, 
and seats at the end, where many a pleasant hour may be 
spent in the months of April and May, luxuriating in the 
coolness of the evening air and inhaling the perfume of 
the snowy blossoms below. 

The Alcazar is close to the cathedral ; a small but pretty 
walk, with trees, occupying the space between. Close 
by stands the Lonja, or Exchange, its grand and simple 
form pointing at once to Herrera as the architect, the same 
who raised the massive fabric of the Escorial. The Lonja 
was built in order to afford some place for merchants to 
meet and transact • business, when the wealth of the New 
"World was flowing into the port of Seville. Not having 
any specified building, it seems they resorted to the 
cathedral, where, as an old Spanish author says, they were 
obliged to go and hear the news, and talk over mercantile 
affairs, " de manera que para lo de Dios y para lo del 
mundo, parece que es un hombre obligado a venir a esta 
Iglesia una vez al dia."* The worthy archbishop took up 
the matter very seriously, and persuaded Philip II. to put 
an end to such scandal. The merchants were accordingly 
desired to raise a building, and the design was entrusted 
to Juan de Herrera ; it was completed in 1 598. 

* " So that for the things of God, and for those of the world, it seems that 
a man is obliged to come to this cathedral once a day." 



The Lonja, as it now stands, is an emblem of the actual 
condition of Spain ; its halls deserted, not a sign of life 
about it. It has a very fine patio, paved with marble. 
A polished marble staircase leads to a superb gallery, 
running round three sides of the building, full of the 
records of Spain's past greatness. Here are ranged on 
shelves, the archives of the New World from the time of 
its discovery. But the gallery is deserted, the blue and 
brown paper parcels, ticketed and numbered, look cold 
and voiceless, and no one seems to think of studying 
their records. There are some curious documents 
relating to Cervantes, and his application to the govern- 
ment for some situation in America, which was refused 
him. They set forth all the sufferings of his life, his 
wars and captivity in Algiers ; but a deaf ear was 
turned to his petition, and he remained in Spain, to 
write Don Quixote, and immortalize his name. Many of 
these interesting manuscripts used formerly to be shown 
to strangers, but the glass-cases which enclose them will 
not open any more, thanks to the exploits of one of our 
own countrywomen, who managed one day to abstract a 
page from this valuable collection as a gentle souvenir of 

It is impossible to find words sufficiently strong to 
reprehend such conduct as this — conduct in which our 
own countrypeople are very fond of indulging. It makes 
one blush to hear, when abroad, that such a thing is no 
longer exhibited, because some English persons carried 
off a piece of it. Although we may find fault with 
Spaniards for not prizing their relics of antiquity suffi- 
ciently, we carry reverence for them to a dangerous pitch. 
It is in fact a perfect mania with John Bull, who never 
seems to value anything unless he can obtain some of it. 
The greater the quantity of stolen goods produced on a 
return from the Continent, the greater the satisfaction. 



The act of looking at things seems to afford but little 
pleasure, unless some portion can be carried away as a 
souvenir. Nothing is safe from the hands of some tra- 
vellers. They will stop at no petty pilfering, in order to 
display a motley catalogue of things, comprising perhaps 
a corner of an Egyptian hieroglyphic, a finger of some 
Grecian statue, mosaics from the dome of St. Peter's, an 
arabesque from the Alhambra, a piece of silk cut off some 
historic banner, a leaf from an illuminated manuscript, or 
even a piece of the curtains which draperied the couch 
of some great man. 

The collection of manuscripts in the Lonja is very 
interesting from its connection with the New World ; 
but the library bequeathed to the cathedral by Fer- 
dinand Columbus brings the discoverer yet more forcibly 
to mind. Here are preserved some books said to have 
belonged to Columbus himself, with many marginal 
notes in his own handwriting. There are several 
editions of valuable works, and some beautifully illumi- 
nated Bibles and Missals : any one who wishes may 
obtain permission to go and read in this library. Above 
the book-cases, the walls are lined with likenesses of 
distinguished Sevillanos, and others who have figured in 
Spanish history. At one end is a picture of St. Fer- 
dinand by Murillo, and at the other a large painting 
of Christopher Columbus, by a modern French artist, 
presented to the Dean and Chapter by Louis Philippe. 
Amongst the more modern appears a portrait of Cardinal 
Wiseman, of whom the Sevillanos are very proud, from 
his being a native of their town. 

The most notable object in the library is, perhaps, the 
sword of Fernan Gonzalez, which, according to some 
verses inscribed, seems to have been brought to Seville 
by Garcia Perez de Vargas. How it came here does not 
appear to be known exactly, unless, aN its old guardian 




suggests, it was buried with Garcia Perez, and dug up 
when the old mosque was destroyed to make way for the 
present cathedral. 

The Columbina, as this library is called, is placed in a 
long gallery leading from the Orange Court, to the left, 
as you enter by the Puerta del Perdon. Nearly opposite 
is the Archbishop's Palace, a building erected in the 
beginning of the last century, without anything to recom- 
mend it. Soult resided in it during his stay in Seville. 
The staircase, they say, was commenced on a scale of 
great magnificence by the then archbishop, who spent 
money upon it which was intended for charitable 
purposes. A jester, however, caused him to suspend 
his work by reproaching him with a bitter speech : 
" Stones were once turned into bread to feed the poor, 
but your grace is doing something more wonderful, 
for you are turning bread into stone." 

From the Lonja it is not far to the Paseo. You leave 
the town by the Puerta de Jeres, on which an inscription 
sums up the history of Seville, in a few words, from 
Hercules to the sainted monarch. The huge fabric of 
the tobacco manufactory rises to the left, while in front 
a broad walk leads past a tasteless palace, formerly the 
naval college of San Telmo, now the residence of the 
Infanta Luisa Fernanda. The Duke and Duchess of 
Montpensier have taken up their residence in Seville, 
and the Infanta keeps up almost regal state. They live 
very quietly and retired ; seldom receiving at the palace, 
their entertainments extending at the most to one or 
two formal concerts during the winter season. The 
Duke passes his time looking after his property and 
superintending the improvements going on in the palace 
and its grounds. The Infanta is very amiable and 
charitable, but reserved and fond of etiquette. She is 
quite the Queen at Seville, and her sister could not be 



treated with more state than she is, when she attends 
any ceremony that may happen to be going on at the 
cathedral, or elsewhere. 

The building where they now reside was erected 
towards the latter end of the seventeenth century, and 
its facade is a very characteristic specimen of the decline 
of Spanish taste in architecture, being what is commonly 
called Churrigueresque, from Churriguera. The portal is 
an extravaganza of bad taste, and the whole building has 
been rendered still more hideous by the bright-red colour 
with which it is now painted, the Doric pilasters standing- 
out in white contrast ; the whole is enclosed by iron 
rails, richly gilt in French style. The naval students 
have been expelled, and the palace is now magnificently 
furnished, although it displays more richness than good 
taste ; the rooms are too overloaded with ornament, 
and very heavy. The situation is charming, close to 
the edge of the Guadalquivir, and facing the public 
promenade. The gardens cover a large extent of ground ; 
they are planted with orange-trees, and radiant with 
tropical flowers. Great expense has been incurred in 
making artificial mounds, lakes, summer-houses, aviaries, 
grottos, and rustic temples. The gardens are only now 
being laid out, so, as yet, they can scarcely be seen to 

The Duke enclosed a good deal of ground along the 
paseo, but the Ayuntamiento would not allow of his 
walling it, on account of disfiguring the public walk. It 
is accordingly surrounded by iron railings, supported by 
large whitewashed piers. The walk is charming, and 
deserves its name of Las Delicias, with the gardens of San 
Telmo on one side, and the river flowing on the other ; 
one or two graceful palms on the opposite bank giving 
an Eastern colouring to the landscape. Part of it is 
planted with oranges and lemons. It is the fashionable 

n 2 



resort in winter ; here people come to take the sun, 
" tomar el sol," as the Spaniards say ; here its effects are 
felt with much force, and even in winter it is sometimes 
disagreeably hot in the middle of the day. On the 
promenade the beau-monde of Seville exhibit their bright- 
coloured dresses ; and here, and at the theatre, are the 
only two places where a stranger has any opportunity of 
seeing the Sevillanos. Fans are rapidly giving way to 
parasols, but bonnets do not seem to be coming into 
fashion as rapidly here as at Madrid and elsewhere : 
they are still few enough to attract attention, and 
contribute to set off the beauty of the mantilla by the 

Sometimes, on Sundays and on fete days, a military 
band plays, and a greater crowd than usual assembles. 
Strangers are always struck with the very dressy appear- 
ance of the promenaders, they wear such showy pink 
and blue silk dresses, while the gay ribbons in the hair, 
and the black lace veil thrown over the head, make them 
appear as though they were ready for some full-dress 
party. Still those who adhere to the old costume, and 
dress in black, appear to much greater advantage, the 
sombre hue suiting best with the mantilla. The Sevil- 
lanos must, however, be excused for their gay toilettes 
of a morning, for as there is not any society here, 
it is the only opportunity they have of indulging in 
a display of dress. Brilliant colours, too, harmonise 
better with the intense sunlight and clearness of the. 
atmosphere, than they would under our own dull, 
cloudy sky. 

Not the least characteristic portion of the scene are 
the refresco-stands, or painted wooden sheds, which are 
dotted along the banks of the river, where water is 
vended, and milk of almonds, and various kinds of 
refreshing beverages. These stands are to be seen every- 



where in Seville, at the corners of the streets, in the 
plazas, and wherever people most do congregate. They 
were generally painted green, and often very tastefully 
and showily decorated. Large jars of water are placed 
behind, and in front vases filled with gold and silver 
fish, interspersed with piles of oranges, and bunches of 
roses and other flowers. 

The most eonspieuous object on the river-side is the 
Torre del Oro, a large tower, whose origin is lost in 
obscurity, everybody entertaining their ow r n opinion 
about it, and the honour of having erected it has been 
attributed both to Romans and Mahometans. Its name is 
singular, deriving its origin, some say, from having been 
the place where Pedro the Cruel preserved his treasures. 
It was formerly connected with the Alcazar, but those 
walls have long since been pulled down, and it now 
stands quite isolated on the shores of the Guadalquivir. 

But the great pride of the Sevillanos is the new iron 
bridge, which connects it with Triana, and has replaced 
the old bridge of boats, which since the days of the 
Romans afforded the only means of communication. It 
was completed last year under a French engineer, and is 
rather a handsome structure ; the worthy people here 
think it very odd that travellers should have such bad 
taste as not to select it for sketching, instead of all those 
odd old things in the streets, which they are so fond of — 
it is so much prettier. 

Triana is a large suburb on the opposite bank of the 
river, with some good houses in it ; but a great proportion 
is inhabited by gipsies, to the number of two or three 
thousand, who have here their head-quarters. Some of 
the old half-ruined places in which they live, are most 
delightfully picturesque, at least, if an unlimited amount of 
dirt and tumble-down walls can entitle a thing to that 
appellation. But they are, in truth, very bits for a painter, 



with the vines climbing about them ; and the dark sons 
and daughters of the East huddled together in wild- 
looking groups, sitting about in the courts. The men, 
with their thin long hair, dark brown complexion, snowy 
teeth, and thick lips, proclaiming at once their Oriental 
origin. The wild melancholy look of the women, with 
their jet-black eyes, their coarse raven hair carelessly tied 
up behind, decked with the brightest flowers and any 
tawdry jewelled combs or pins that can be scraped 
together, the " abandon" of their figures — all speaking of 
the East. The coarse finery with which they love to 
clothe themselves, the common cotton dresses with deep 
full flounces, the china crape shawl thrown over their 
shoulders, always of the gaudiest hue, contrast with their 
olive-coloured skins, which sun and dirt both assist 
in darkening. They are a strange, mysterious race. 
Although settled down here in towns, and obliged, out- 
wardly at least, to conform to the dominant religion of 
the land, they bear unchanged their own distinctive 
-characteristics, and stand as much apart from Spaniards 
as though they belonged to another country. 

Taught from their earliest infancy to steal and cheat, 
they indulge in every sort of petty theft during the 
remainder of their lives, the only disgrace attendant upon 
the deed being its discovery. They will beg from and 
humbug you with the most overpowering speeches ; but 
while they are praising you, they may only be awaiting 
their opportunity to filch, and for this their extraordinary 
cunning adapts them admirably. They never rob by 
violence ; they only take their neighbours' goods by 
stealth, quietly and furtively. And yet, in their own 
domestic relations, they have virtues which might adorn a 
higher station ; the devotion of the women to their hus- 
bands and children is unbounded, and many a tale is told 
of the manner in which they show their attachment. 


When their husbands are in prison, which often happens, 
the sacrifices they make, the hardships they endure, to 
soften their lot, or shorten, if possible, their captivity, are 
indeed surprising. Many of their customs are very 
peculiar, and they still endeavour to persuade people to 
believe in witchcraft, and the working of charms, &c. 
Their funerals, more particularly those of the children, 
are attended with all sorts of rejoicings, the night being 
spent in dancing and music. 

Their most striking characteristics may be seen in their 
dances, and a curious scene they present, wild and almost 
uncivilized. Their movements carry one at once to 
Eastern lands. The contortions of the figure — for they 
dance more with the body than the feet — the manner 
in which the spectators beat time with their hands, while 
others sing, or rather screech, until they work them- 
selves up to a state of frenzy, and the. dancers become 
more and more animated, and all assumes a character 
of almost savage excitement. Every movement has a 
meaning, every gesture an expression, each flash of 
their fire-glancing eyes conveys more than words could 
tell. The dances themselves are coarse and disagree- 
able, but the whole presents a rich study for an artist 
— the varying expressions in the countenances of the 
surrounding groups ; the young girls with their glancing 
eyes ; the old women with their wizened, wrinkled 
countenances, indicative only of low and vicious cunning. 
Then comes the " vito," the most animated dance of 
all ; this is performed by a woman alone. She ties a 
handkerchief across her shoulder like a scarf, puts a 
sombrero on her head, which only adds to the saucy 
look they all have, and commences the usual evolutions. 
The spectators keep time by clapping their hands, an 
accompaniment which in gipsy dances replaces the 
castanets ; the tambourine and the guitar are also called 



into requisition, and the song commences, which always 
accompanies this dance. 

Las mozitas son de oro ; 
Las casadas son de plata ; 
Las viudas son de cobre; 
Las viejas de hojalata, 

Por el Vito— el Vito el Vito, 

Por el Vito, &c, &c. 

The dance concludes by her fixing on some one of the 
party, before whom she dances, and on whom the flashing 
glance of her eye is cast, when she throws him the 
handkerchief, and waits for it to be returned with a 
bright peseta in the corner. Those who cannot see 
these dances by wandering so far to the South, may 
see them this year on the walls of the Academy ; for 
they have been depicted to the life by a Mr. Phillip, the 
artist, who spent some time in Seville, and to whom we 
owe the opportunities we had of seeing something of this 
strange race. 

In Triana there are two or three churches, one dedi- 
cated very strangely to La Virgen de la O., the origin of 
which singular name I have never been able to discover ; 
she is rather a favourite patroness, however, in Triana, 
and many a young lady has the odd-sounding name given 
her, of Maria de la O. One church in Triana has under- 
gone a sad metamorphosis ; it is now converted into 
a theatre, one of the ' lowest in Seville ; and the actual 
stone of the high altar still remains behind the scenes. 

Although the Alameda is thronged with fashionables 
in winter, on the summer nights the gay world generally 
flock to the Plaza del Duque, a small square in the centre 
of the town, planted with trees. The casino or club is on 
one side of it, and in this neighbourhood are some of the 
most fashionable streets of Seville, such as the Calle 
de las Armas, San Vicente, &c. Another very pretty 



little square is the Plaza Magdalena, which has likewise 
its acacia-trees, and fountain, and marble benches, and 
stands of aguadores who sell refreshing beverages. The 
Fonda de Madrid is in this square, certainly the best 
hotel in Seville, but the most expensive. 

The largest square in the town is, of course, now called 
the Plaza de la Constitucion. It has a very fine specimen 
of plataresque work in the Casas Capitulares, a striking 
building, which was A r ery nearly being sacrificed a few 
months ago. The Ayuntamiento wished to pull it down, 
in order to make a fine Paris-looking square, but they 
were fortunately prevented, and have now commenced 
building a new plaza at the back of it, on the site of the 
old Franciscan convent. It promises to be as ugly as 
might be expected from the taste of Spanish corporations 
in these days. On the Queen's birth- day and fete-day, 
her picture, and that of the King, are hung up, in front of 
the Casas Capitulares, sentries are placed on each side, 
and a military band serenades the pictures in the evening, 
treating them as though their majesties were really 
present — a curious custom, and one universally practised 
both in the churches and theatres on the occasion of any 
great " funcion" when the Queen is more especially con- 
cerned. Her picture figures in the state-box instead of 
herself, and receives the same honours which would be 
paid to her. In Madrid, during all the great services in 
the churches when Te Deums were sung in gratitude for 
her deliverance from the hand of the assassin at the time 
of Merino's attempt upon her life, her picture was put up 
in the open space before the high altar, with guards 
round it. 

Some of the houses in the Plaza are very picturesque, 
with a covered arcade beneath, and the view of the 
Giralda from this point is beautiful, more particularly 
at sunset, when it assumes that pinky hue which glows on 



it like fire. Near this plaza is the street of the silver- 
smiths, where they sell all those pretty little silver and 
gold buttons which ornament the jackets of the An- 
dalucian majo ; they are, however, coarsely worked. 
Rosaries are also here, and a variety of ornaments in 
silver filagree, but very inferior to the productions of 
Malta and Genoa. The custom of having separate 
streets for particular trades prevails still in Seville, but 
it is fast disappearing, and a showy shop, full of electro- 
plate, has made its appearance in the Calle de Genova, 
intruding on a domain formerly pertaining exclusively to 
the booksellers. Most of the shops of Seville are quite 
open to the street ; no glass, but supported almost 
invariably by one of those slender marble pillars which 
abound in this city of diminutive columns. 

There are several old houses in Seville, which, although 
not exactly of Moorish origin, bear traces of having been 
erected in imitation of the Arab style of architecture. 
One still exists in the best preservation, and is commonly 
known by the name of the Casa de Pilatos, and belongs to 
the ducal house of Medina Celi. It is said to have been 
built in imitation of Pilate's house at Jerusalem by one of 
the Riberas, who performed a pilgrimage there in 1519. 
Be this as it may, the house, although erected at the 
commencement of the 16th century, is a copy of the 
Alcazar, and some of its ceilings and rooms are very fine. 
Its staircase is beautiful, and quite unique in its style, the 
walls being covered with the most beautiful azulejos. 
The Duke of Alva's house bears traces likewise of 
Moorish architecture, but it is so very much decayed, 
that it has but little left to tell of its former magnificence. 
Both these houses are neglected by their owners, who, 
living in Madrid, may be said to have abandoned them 
completely. Some of the churches likewise retain their 
Moorish towers, and those of San Marco and Santa 



Catalina are picturesque enough. In the interior they 
possess but little interest. They are neither remarkable 
for their architectural merits nor for any objects of art 
they contain ; there are but few good pictures now to be 
found in them, and the pasos, the wooden images, are 
perhaps their greatest attraction. 

In Seville there is even less society than in other 
Andalucian towns. There are not any balls or parties 
whatever, and people seldom meet except at the theatre 
or on the promenades. Each family has its owm little 
circle, consisting of two or three relatives or friends, who 
come and sit together of an evening, or else they have a 
box at the theatre, and go there night after night. This 
is all very well for the inhabitants themselves who have 
their own relatives and friends ; but for foreigners it is 
anything but lively : and the more to be regretted at 
Seville, where there are all the elements necessary for 
agreeable society. There are a great many families of 
the nobility residing here; they have charming houses, 
admirably calculated for receiving, and there is not by 
any means a deficiency of wealth. But they do not care 
about it ; they are unused to it ; it requires too much 
exertion, and they prefer going on with the same routine. 
Some will tell you it is a spirit of emulation existing about 
dress which prevents balls and parties being given : each 
strives to outvie the other in the splendour of her toilette, 
and as all cannot afford to be equally extravagant, they 
gradually give up appearing at any parties, which some 
more enterprising than the rest may have endeavoured to 
give, and at length the rooms remain deserted. 

This is one of the many reasons the Sevillanos them- 
selves give, and although it may sound rather absurd, I 
believe it is not very far from the truth. They meet at 
the theatre, see each other at the paseo, and the young 
ladies, when they are engaged to be married, find it 



more agreeable to talk to their lovers at the reja, than 
excite their jealousy by accepting the attentions of others 
in a crowded ball-room. As young people, under such 
circumstances, are not generally allowed to be together 
without the presence of some third person, which we 
must presume to be very disagreeable, the lady stations 
herself at the window on the ground-floor, and there, 
with the jealous reja between her and her lover, she can 
discourse at her leisure, while he stands in the street, 
enveloped in his cloak. And there they converse by 
the hour, and whisper so low, that not even the passers- 
by can catch the echo of their voice. 

" Comme on doit avoir froid," said a Frenchman to me 
one night returning from the theatre, as we passed a hero 
who was always at his post, even during the comparative 
cold of Christmas. But the Spaniard did not feel cold, 
the genial climate of Seville makes it less of a penance 
standing in the street, than it would be either in France 
or England. They certainly do exhibit the most won- 
derful patience in remaining there for hours, night after 
night, and that for a length of time which would quite 
exhaust the patience of a less Oriental race. 

Children in this country are much more independent of 
their parents than with us. The father is obliged to give 
his eldest son a certain portion of his fortune when he 
marries, even should he do so without his consent. A 
grandee must obtain that of the Sovereign, but young 
people, whose parents object to their marriage, have only 
to apply to the civil authorities and state their grievance. 
If no rational objections can be urged, the alcalde takes 
the young lady or gentleman, as the case may be, from 
the parents' house, and deposits them, as they term it, 
under the roof of some relative or friend, where they 
remain until the marriage takes place, the parents not 
having it in their power to prevent the ceremony being 



performed. A woman in Spain retains her own fortune 
when she marries, and is in every point, as far as regards 
money, far more independent than a married woman in 
England. The husband, be he ever so extravagant, can 
never touch his wife's property ; and it is very amusing 
to hear Spaniards discussing this subject, for they enter- 
tain an idea that women in England are mere cyphers 
in their own homes, and they never omit an opportunity 
of impressing us with the fact, that they are quite 
independent, and really manage their households them- 
selves, and everything connected with them. 

As there is not any society in Seville, a foreigner's 
acquaintance with Spaniards is pretty nearly confined to 
morning visits, for few become sufficiently intimate to 
join the select circle assembled round the brasero in the 
winter evenings, or in summer amid the flowers of the 
patio. The ladies do not spend much money on their 
dress — at least all they do is reserved for the paseo. In 
their own domestic circle they never seem to mind what 
they wear ; at home, the commonest gown will do, for its 
defects are concealed by an enormous shawl, in which 
they muffle themselves up, with their hands tucked 
under it in the most comfortable manner possible. 

The theatre here is not worthy of so large a town, 
and the performers are generally very indifferent. The 
lower tier of boxes is the most fashionable, and has a 
peculiar appearance, having only an iron railing in front. 
In winter there are both an opera and a dramatic 
company. Like most provincial towns they cannot afford 
to pay for first-rate singers, and have to put up with 
those who are about to make their debut upon the 
stage, or whose career is drawing to a close. There is 
not much real taste for music in Spain, and singers and 
musicians do not find it a very profitable country to 
honour with their presence. It is hardly possible to get 



up a concert, for no one will take tickets ; they are far 
more amused at the theatre, where the prices are low 
and there is more to see. 

The dramatic company is tolerable ; they very often 
give the regular Andalucian pieces, particularly on fete 
days, and on those occasions when the lower orders 
predominate. They are still very fond of pieces in which 
the virtues of bandits shine forth, and in which such 
characters are invested with a heroism and a charm which 
tend to increase the admiration of the people for those 
who follow a profession where the rich are robbed only 
to benefit the poor, and the passers-by are deprived of 
their purses to pay for masses for the souls of the 
deceased companions of the spoilers. Some of their 
farces are very amusing, but the drama is heavy, so 
full of such long speeches, with scarcely any action 
or change of scenery. Of tragedy there is, strictly 
speaking, very little to be seen. Spaniards do not 
go to the play to be made wretched and miserable by 
having their feelings worked upon. They go to laugh and 
pass a pleasant evening, and not to cry ; consequently 
plays founded even on well-known tragical incidents, have 
the plot tortured in all variety of ways to prevent a 
melancholy ending, and bring health and happiness to 
everybody concerned. 

An incident a-propos to this appeared in one of 
the papers, illustrative of the tender-heartedness of the 
inhabitants of Murcia. After the first representation 
of " Marino Faliero," the finale disgusted the public 
to such a degree, that before the second performance 
the following announcement appeared in the play- 
bills. " Notice is given that to-night the people will 
triumph, and that the Council of Ten will succumb." 
But this was outdone by the effect which " Adrienne 
Lecouvreur" produced. It hurt the feelings of the 



Mureians so much that the manager issued a decree 
to the following- effect. " Having observed that the 
public, who take such an interest in Adrienne, were pro- 
foundly hurt by the tragical death of the heroine, the 
manager has taken the advice of competent persons, and 
has arranged that in future it shall end happily, with the 
marriage of Adrienne to Maurice of Saxony. If this 
slight variation should meet with the approval of the 
enlightened public of Murcia, the efforts made to gratify 
them will be amply rewarded. The performances will 
terminate as usual with the national dances." 

The Spanish paper which records this interesting 
episode in the history of the drama exclaimed, " What 
more tragical end could befal a dramatist than to have 
his works represented on the Murcian stage ?" The 
Si villanos are not quite so tender-hearted ; they will 
allow translations to terminate as in the original, but 
certainly in genuine Spanish plays you hardly ever find 
any one who dies or is murdered on the stage. On 
Sundays and fete days they give two performances, one 
at four, which is chiefly attended by the lower orders, 
and another at eight, devoted to the more aristocratic 
portion of the community. They generally give one or 
two of the national dances, either as a wind-up or 
between the acts. There are some very tolerable dancers 
at Seville ; one of the best has been already alluded to 
a- living in the Giralda, from which she derives her 
designation of " La Campanera." 

The lower orders are a happy, joyous set of people, 
abounding in all that wit and repartee for which the 
Andalucians are so celebrated. They are rather too prone 
to quarrelling, and are constantly falling victims to their 
impetuosity, and frequent use of the narvaja, which is 
drawn on the slightest provocation. One day when we 
were passing by the gate of Triana, a crowd was assembled 



round a man who had just been stabbed. Some one had 
dropped a piece of two cuarts — less than a penny — and 
four or five began scrambling for it ; but in the course of 
the struggle one offended another, the knife was out, and 
the discussion was soon put an end to. The Andalucians 
are, however, considered more given to fair play than the 
inhabitants of the other provinces ; the Valencians, 
generally stab behind the back, but here at least they 
mostly use it face to face. 

Proud and indolent, they are averse to exertion, and are 
quite willing to sit quietly enjoying themselves, while the 
inhabitants of Galicia and the Asturias perform the work, 
and earn the wages. But with all their faults, there is a 
something about the Andalucians one cannot help liking ; 
there is so much that is amusing, so much natural wit, 
with a certain sort of poetry attached to it — what they 
call the " sal de Andalucia," which there is no translating, 
or explaining in any other language but their own. They 
are boasters to a degree, and indulge in exaggerations 
which have become proverbial. They love to sit in the 
sun with a cigar in their mouths, that indispensable 
addition to every Spaniard's comfort. A cigar whiles 
away the time, makes the hours glide smoothly along, and 
is the faithful companion of all classes : at the " table- 
d'hote," in the diligence, on the promenade, and amid the 
family circle, he is never without his best friend. It is 
one of the first things to which ladies must make up their 
minds to resign themselves, when they undertake to travel 
in Spain ; it is so much a matter of course, that few 
Spaniards think it necessary even to apologise for smoking 
in a lady's presence. 

A supply of cigars will smoothe every difficulty in 
travelling, and one offered at the right time will find its 
way to the most obdurate heart. The government take, 
however, most unfair advantage of this ruling passion, and 



content themselves with the reflection, that there is not 
any tax paid so willingly as that upon tobacco, for it falls 
entirely upon the gratification of a mere fancy. It, doubt- 
less, is an article in the revenue not lightly to be cast 
aside, or not to be remitted without the certainty of being 
able to find some advantageous substitute. The Spanish 
government frankly own in the last annual statement of 
the revenue, that government monopolies have many 
inconveniences, still it would not be prudent to give up an 
item which produces two millions of pounds sterling 
a-year. They therefore maintain, with the most jealous 
watchfulness, a monopoly, which enables them to sell the 
most inferior article at whatever price they please. People 
complain that the cigars get worse every year — but " no 
hay remedio ;" Spaniards have but one alternative — to 
smoke what are sold to them, or give them up altogether. 
They do the former, and revenge themselves by saying and 
writing all sorts of bitter things against the government ; 
for a Spaniard is free to abuse, so long as he will not 
trouble himself to set about remedying the evils against 
which he so loudly inveighs. 

Tobacco was first brought to Seville about the middle 
of the sixteenth century from Cuba and St. Domingo, 
and was made a royal monopoly in 1636. There are two 
or three large manufactories of cigars in Spain. The one 
in Seville was built by order of Philip V. expressly for 
this purpose. Its size is its most remarkable feature, for 
it cannot boast of any architectural beauty. Here the 
lovers of smoking may see the various operations of 
rolling their favourite luxury into the form of cigars. 
There are upwards of four thousand women employed 
here, and the huge gallery where they sit presents a 
curious spectacle. It is supported by thick substantial 
columns, round which are shelves, on which are placed 
the small packets as they are completed, while the 




women are grouped at low tables, their fingers busily 
employed in rolling the precious weed into the form of 
cigars, and their tongues keep up a running accompani- 
ment the whole time. These cigararreras are strictly 
watched, lest they should endeavour to encourage a little 
free trade in cigars by abstracting any of the tobacco. 
Snuff is likewise made here, and the machinery used in 
the process is of the most antiquated description. 

There are a great many charitable institutions in 
Seville, and most of them are very well managed. A 
vast improvement has been made in this respect within 
the last few years. The Foundling Hospital, which 
used to be a disgrace to Seville, is now a model of 
neatness and cleanliness. It is under the direction of a 
junta of ladies, who have confided the charge of it to the 
Sisters of Charity, under whose superintendence it is most 
admirably managed. When application for the admission 
of a child is made during the day-time, one of the Sisters 
receives the helpless being in silence, no questions being 
asked : at night, a " torno" receives them. The children re- 
main at the establishment until they are six years old, when 
they are transferred to the Mendicity Asylum, where they 
receive the elements of education, and are taught various 
useful occupations. When we went to see the building, 
there were but few children in it. We were first con- 
ducted into a long room, on each side of which several 
cradles were placed, all looking as clean and neat as 
possible, with their snow-Avhite muslin curtains and tidy 
little quilts ; we were shown one poor child that had been 
received only that morning, and certainly to look at its 
little thin pale face, with its large dull eyes, it would 
appear that it had only been sent there to terminate its 
short existence upon earth — every feature seemed to bear, 
the impress of death. 

We afterwards saw the dormitories of the elder 



children, all equally well arranged, with separate rooms 
for the boys and girls, each bed numbered, and a chair 
placed at the foot of it. In the " comedor," or dining- 
room, the table was laid for dinner ; and to judge from 
the account we received of the living, added to the healthy 
appearance of the children, I should say no possible com- 
plaint could be made of the manner in which they are 
treated. I never saw a merrier, or more noisy set of little 
creatures than the elder ones, who were running about, 
enjoying a regular game of romps, little chubby faces and 
sparkling eyes, which spoke volumes in favour of the care 
bestowed upon them by the good Sisters of Charity. A 
great many are put out to nurse, and maintained at the 
expense of the institution. We were much interested at 
seeing the stores of clothes of different sizes, all made by 
the hands of the Sisters, and so beautifully arranged in their 
various compartments, that it appeared quite a pity to 
disturb them ; in fact, every department is admirably 
arranged by those sweet recluses, who look the very per- 
sonification of kindness. How many a sad tale of truth, far 
stranger than fiction, could be told of many of the deserted 
little inmates of this institution, if the mystery attached to 
each could be unveiled ! Abandoned by their parents, 
they grow up without any ties to bind them to the world, 
no beings to care for, or to love them ; their very existence 
appears almost a misfortune. 

The Infanta has established a charitable association 
here amongst the ladies, which is entirely under their 
superintendence. Every member subscribes a peseta 
(about one shilling) per month, and between the large 
amount of subscriptions and donations from different 
quarters they continue to collect between two and three 
thousand pounds a-year. The Infanta herself is chief 
president, and each parish in Seville has likewise a 
president, vice-president, secretary, &c. On the 1st of 

o 2 



January they have a grand meeting of all the subscribers, 
at which the Infanta presides, when the president^ are re- 
elected or new ones chosen in their stead ; the statements 
made of the general finances and other details connected 
with the society are also discussed. I attended the meeting 
this year as a member. The Infanta opened the proceedings 
with a speech, which she delivered very gracefully. She 
has rather a rough voice — unfortunately, not an unusual 
thing in Spain — but her manner possesses much dignity, 
and the expression of her countenance is very sweet. 
Business was transacted quite in an official manner ; but 
the ladies seemed to be in dire confusion about giving 
their votes ; however, all the proceedings were at length 
most satisfactorily terminated, and the whole party 
sat down to luncheon, when the Duke joined the com- 
pany. Some say this society does a great deal of good, 
while others whisper that the claims of poverty have 
considerably increased since it was founded, from the 
very indiscriminate manner in which the ladies administer 
the funds entrusted to their charge. Be this true or not. 
it is a step in the right direction, giving the ladies, at all 
events, some useful occupation, and making them interest 
themselves about the poor. The Infanta sets them a 
good example ; nothing can exceed her kindness and 
charity, and no appeal to her on behalf of a poor or 
distressed person is ever made in vain. 



And slow up the dim aisle afar, 
With sable cowl and scapular, 
And snow-white stoics, in order due, 
The holy fathers, two and two, 

In long procession came ; 
Taper, and host, and book they bare, 
And holy banners flourished fair 

With the Redeemer's name. 







It is during the Holy Week that Seville is most 



crowded with strangers, who assemble from all quarters 
to see the processions which form so remarkable a feature 
in its celebration. Foreigners come from every country, 
and Spaniards pour in from all parts of the Peninsula, to 
witness what some Sevillanos, rather irreverently, but not 
inappropriately, call the " Carneval Divino." This and 
the fair are the two periods to which the inhabitants 
look forward as the only seasons when there is any 
chance of the town having a little more life than usual 
infused into it. 

The services in the cathedral are very fine ; and on 
Holy Thursday, when the monument is lighted up, it 
certainly presents one of the grandest religious scenes 
in the world — far finer than anything in Rome, now that 
the lighting of the Cross in St. Peter's is no longer 
permitted. The peculiar characteristic . of Seville is the 
number of processions bearing images, representing 
different scenes in the life of our Saviour and of the 
Virgin : these processions perform their stations, as they 
are called, during the Holy Week. The images or 
" pasos" belong to certain religious associations called 
Cofradias. Founded in days gone by, Avhen faith 
prompted people to attend them, and look on them 
with some feelings of reverential awe ; but that spirit has 
passed away, and now they are chiefly supported by the 
innkeepers and tradesmen of the town, who contribute 
largely to their funds, not from any devotional zeal, but 
as a source of profit, and from the knowledge that they 
attract a crowd of both natives and foreigners, and thus 
afford them an opportunity of considerably improving their 
temporal interests. 

The exact date of the foundation of these Cofradias is 
not known ; their origin is involved in obscurity, but they 
probably took their rise in the fourteenth century. At 
first they appear to have been simple associations of men 


who united for the performance of certain religious duties, 
visiting the various chapels during the Holy Week in 
procession, and performing public penance by scourging 
themselves severely as they walked along, while some 
of the members carried torches in their hands around 
the Crucifix. Hence they were called Cofradias de 
Penitencia, Sangre y Luz. Some assert that San Vicente 
de Ferrer was one of the first to establish the discipline of 
penance in the Cofradias when he visited Seville in 1408 : 
others deny they can boast of so remote an antiquity. 
One thing is certain, that in those early days they did 
not carry any statues about with them ; crucifixes and 
banners only, on which the incidents of the Passion were 

It was not until the beginning of the seventeenth 
century that images formed a part of the processions ; 
and when once they w r ere introduced, each brotherhood 
tried to outvie the other in the magnificence of their 
statues, and the talents of the first sculptors were called 
into requisition : hence, the vast number of painted images 
which abound in the churches. In the year 1777, a royal 
decree prohibited all public penance in the streets ; and 
none but the members who carried torches were allowed 
to accompany the pasos. Their rules and regulations 
have been considerably altered during the lapse of years. 
They have mostly substituted a cross for the banner which 
used to precede them, and as the real penitents have 
di -appeared, the images are now attended by men dressed 
in long white or black robes with high-pointed caps, their 
faces covered, only having holes cut out for their eyes. 
These men are now called Nazarenos. 

During the French invasion, when churches were rifled 
and despoiled of all their riches, these brotherhoods lost 
much of their wealth; the sumptuous dresses of the 
statues were stolen; the costly plate which adorned the 



platform on which the figure of the Virgin is carried, 
was melted down, and it was some years before they even 
partially recovered from the effects of this wholesale 
spoliation. The subsequent civil wars, which desolated 
the Peninsula, prevented for a time the restoration of the 
Cofradias, but of late years they have resumed their 
processions. The Infanta and her husband belong to 
several ; and the evident benefit conferred upon the town 
by so great an attraction to foreigners, induces the 
members to honour their pasos with all the magni- 
ficence possible. Some twelve or fourteen go out now 
every Holy Week, each having their appointed day and 

Besides these stations, they celebrate an annual com- 
memoration with great ceremony before Easter. On 
these occasions the Host is manifested, and the pasos 
belonging to the Cofradia, whose festival is being 
celebrated, are arranged before the altar amid a brilliant 
display of lights. The prayers are followed by a sermon, 
and the preachers are always selected from among the 
most talented and eloquent in Seville. Those Cofradias. 
also, whose members have sworn to defend the doctrine 
of the Immaculate Conception attend a grand High 
Mass, and solemnly renew their vows. After a sermon 
has been preached appropriate to the occasion, one 
of the brotherhood ascends the pulpit, and reads the 
oath taken to defend the belief that the Virgin was free 
from the taint of original sin, even to the shedding of 
their blood. The officiating clergyman then receives the 
vow of each member in succession ; and after this 
ceremony is concluded, the mass proceeds. 

Before any of these great " funciones" — "funcion" is 
a word applied to every great ceremony in Spain, be it in 
the church, the theatre, or the bull-ring — the images of 
the Virgin and the saints are generally dressed with care 



in splendidly embroidered robes. When a new dress is 
presented by some pious devotee, great is the commotion 
exeited among the ladies who perform the office of 
Camarera Mayor, Mistress of the Robes. Sometimes 
they go to the church, at other times the figure is taken 
to their own houses, in order that it may be arranged 
more leisurely. Then the ladies of the family are busily 
engaged embroidering, and making the more simple and 
unpsetendmg articles of the toilette, for these images have 
not only the exterior garments, but also those which are 
concealed from the vulgar eye. The figure is dressed, 
and sent back to the church, whence it issues forth to 
excite unbounded admiration. This occupation, however, 
is generally regarded as one more especially adapted to 
ladies of a certain age than to the more juvenile members 
of society, and " buena para vestir imagenes" (only fit to 
dress images), has become a phrase applied in Spain to a 
most respectable class of persons, known in England by 
the name of old maids. 

To return to the Holy Week. A short time before it 
arrives printed papers are distributed, announcing the 
various processions which are to go to the cathedral, with 
the day and hour. Some go out at break of day, others 
towards evening ; and as they are usually behind time, 
many do not reach it until long after dark. When seen at 
night, the effect of the whole is considerably heightened, 
the lights appearing to much greater advantage, and 
the disagreeable details being partially concealed. The 
grandest of all is the Santo Entierro, which only goes 
out once in every three years ; but the procession shown 
in the accompanying sketch is the one which leaves the 
church of the San Miguel, and bears the beautiful crucifix 
of Montanes, called the Amor de Cristo. 

First come the Nazarenos in their strange dresses ; 
then the paso representing the entrance of our Saviour 



into Jerusalem. This consists of a large group of several 
figures : the Saviour followed by three of the Apostles, 
while some Hebrews throw their garments at his feet, 
and the whole is overshadowed by the feathering branches 
of a lofty palm. These figures are all grouped together 
upon a platform, carried by a number of men, to whom, 
indeed, it must be a real penance, transporting such a 
weight through the streets. This paso is followed by 
other Nazarenos ; then comes the crucifix by Montaiies, 
one of those triumphs of painted wooden sculpture, which 
makes one indeed experience a feeling of religious awe 
as this life-like representation of the Redeemer's sufferings, 
is borne aloft. But the object which alone could inspire 
sentiments of devotion passes — passes unheeded and 
unnoticed by the crowd, although it is that before which 
one would most willingly linger : a blaze of light appears 
in the distance, military music falls upon the ear, and 
the anxiety with which all eyes are turned towards the 
coming paso tells you that the last place, the post of 
honour in the procession, is reserved for Her who is the 
object of Seville's most especial veneration, the " Sin 
Pecado Concebida." 

A canopy of purple velvet covers the figure of our Lady 
de Socorro ; she is robed in a richly embroidered dress of 
black, and surrounded by silver vases filled with flowers, 
and candelabra blazing with lights. And what effect has 
all this upon the busy crowd who are passing through the 
streets ? Are these sights suggestive of thoughts befitting 
the holy time devoted by the Church to the commemo- 
ration of our Redeemer's sufferings ? Alas ! the throng- 
ing multitudes are little occupied with such reflections ; 
they are enjoying the Carneval Divino ; they are criti- 
cising the dresses of the images — discussing their em- 
broidery. " What a lovely pocket-handkerchief the 
Virgin has to-day !" exclaims one, for Spaniards never 



say the Image of the Virgin, or of a Saint, they always 
speak of them as though they were realities. " What a 
charming head-dress !" says another; "how very becoming 
it is !" and a thousand similar remarks are called forth, 
and form the staple subject of conversation as the dif- 
ferent processions pass along The very Nazarenos 
themselves who accompany the pasos are not much more 
reverent. They generally carry a small basket filled 
with bon-bons, which they distribute to their friends as 
they pass through the streets. Sometimes they lag 
behind to light a cigar, for which purpose they are 
obliged to raise their masks. 

This is all very sad, but unfortunately too true ; and 
I think any one who has passed a Holy Week in Seville, 
and who understands the language, will allow that I have 
not exaggerated. And this is the purity of faith, which 
her preachers are always boasting she has preserved above 
all other nations ! This is the devotion which now ani- 
mates the land that produced an Isabella and a Mendoza 
— a Ximenez and a Talavera ! 

But we may turn from the scenes enacted in the 
streets, which must sadden the heart of every right- 
feeling or religious mind, be they Catholic or Protestant, 
and enter the glorious temple, where the services of the 
Holy Week are performed with much solemnity. But 
even here, many of them are treated as mere spectacles 
by the congregation, and the fuss and sensation at the 
rending of the veil show that people have assembled 
more to see what is going on than to pray. It does 
not, however, matter much ; within this glorious pile 
there is always some corner to be found apart from 
the throng. 

On Holy Thursday, when the Monumento is lighted up, 
the Cathedral presents a scene of religious ceremonial, 
unsurpassed — unequalled. This is a gigantic temple of 



painted wood-work, and of Grecian architecture, adorned 
with statues, prepared for the reception of the Host, which 
is reserved for the mass on Good Friday. It is erected over 
the tomb of Ferdinand Columbus, and occupies a large por- 
tion of the space between the entrance and the Trascoro. 
It is put up every year at great expense, and for some 
time detracts considerably from the beauty of the cathe- 
dral, its architecture jarring with the Gothic edifice under 
whose roof it stands. But once lighted, the disagreeable 
effect it produced before is readily forgiven. It is indeed 
a magnificent scene, when the procession leaves the High 
Altar and moves towards the monumento, when the 
sounds of that glorious hymn, the " Pange lingua glo- 
riosa," re-echo through the vaulted aisles, and the vast 
multitudes around kneel amid all the pomp and cere- 
monial which the Church of Rome knows so well how to 

But I prefer it when all this is over — at night ; when 
the Miserere is concluded, and the crowd have deserted 
the building. Then it is indeed sublime ! That huge 
temple of light losing itself in the dark roof above, 
making the deep night which reigns in the vast cathe- 
dral even blacker still — the consecrated Host reposing in 
the centre within its silver custodia — all around so tran- 
quil and so silent. No sound to disturb the holiness of 
the scene, a few kneeling worshippers who have lingered 
until they could continue their devotions undisturbed, 
in their black veils and folded cloaks, only adding to the 
mystery and solemnity of the hour. 

The Miserere here is not by any means worthy of 
such a cathedral. They have an immense orchestra 
placed within the High Altar, and the voices are com- 
pletely drowned by the instrumental accompaniment, bad 
in all cases, but most particularly so in this solemn service, 
which owes its greatest charm to the singing. Spaniards 



seem to have an objection to the organ, on any particular 
ceremony always substituting an orchestra. This is much 
to be deplored, especially where they have organs of such 
power and sweetness as those at Seville. The devout 
conduct of the Spaniards in church has rendered it neces- 
sary the last few years to divide the cathedral during the 
performance of the Miserere, as it does not commence 
until after dark : the men are admitted upon one side, the 
women on the other. Such is the Holy Week in Seville, 
where religion is made a mere spectacle, and where gay 
throngs meet to enjoy themselves — one excuse answering 
a- well as another. And the streets are as gay as throng- 
ing multitudes can make them, and all looks bright and 
joyous. The balconies are crowded with spectators, and 
the ceremonies of the Holy Week prove no bad specu- 
lation for those who have windows to let along the line of 

After the excitement of the Semana Santa has died 
away, people's thoughts are engrossed with the fair, the 
next grand event which serves to break the monotony 
of Seville life. This Feria always takes place in the middle 
of April. Sometimes it falls during Easter week, but 
the Sevillanos prefer its coming afterwards, as strangers 
are then induced to prolong their stay, and where there 
are so few opportunities of amusement, it is decidedly 
a pity they should both arrive together. Only of late 
years the fair has been held in Seville. It used formerly 
to be at Mairena, which was the great centre of attrac- 
tion ; but now Mairena is comparatively deserted. If 
people expect to see in an Andalucian fair any resem- 
blance to an English one, they will be grievously disap- 
pointed. There are no shows to tempt you to look at 
wonderful giants, or still more miraculous dwarfs, no 
monstrosities of any sort are to be found here, no 
charming booths full of all kinds of pretty things, where 



you may buy fairings for your friends, and ginger- 
bread for yourself — no ; in Andalucia people indulge in 
less expensive amusements, chiefly in the most economical 
of all — walking about to see their friends and be seen 
themselves. The fact is, these are in reality cattle fairs, 
where horses and cows, sheep and pigs are brought for 

The Feria de Sevilla is held on a large open space 
outside the Puerta San Fernando, where in former days 
the victims of the Inquisition suffered. The view of the 
walls is very pretty from here, with the Giralda rising 
above them, and the pinnacles and buttresses of the cathe- 
dral surmounted by light and elegant iron crosses, which 
seem suspended in the air. The whole of this large open 
space at this festive season swarms with life. The Cafle 
San Fernando, which leads to it, is almost the only long 
straight street in Seville. On this occasion it is covered 
with a canvas awning to shelter the passers-by from the 
burning rays of the sun, and is filled with booths for the 
sale of all descriptions of dulces and sweetmeats. Just 
outside the gate is a lottery for the benefit of one 
of the many charitable associations patronised by the 
Infanta, where all the rank and fashion of Seville 
seduce people into purchasing tickets which must 
prove prizes, and which inevitably turn out to be 

Close along the walls is the fashionable promenade ; 
here, in the early morning and the cool of the evening, 
people may be seen parading up and down, and numbers of 
carriages appear that were never seen before. The crowd 
is so dense it is hardly possible to move ; but this suits 
the Spaniards, who follow each other backwards and 
forwards, laughing, talking, and are content. All the 
gay dresses that can be produced shine on this occasion, 
the most brilliant flowers are pressed into the service of 



the jet-black hair, and the dressy white blonde mantilla 
replaces the ordinary black one. 

Yet after all, the assemblage, in some respects, is very 
similar to what it would be in any other country. 
With the exception of the mantilla, all national costume 
has disappeared from among the upper classes. No 
dark eyes, speaking unutterable things, flash from under 
bandit-looking hats with the heavy cloak concealing the 
figure ; no gay bespangled dresses among the ladies. 
All this is gone. Here and there may be seen some 
-tray Maja, some girl celebrated for her beauty, who 
in order to attract more attention puts on this now 
neglected costume. It is a pretty pert-looking dress, 
but must be worn with a certain " gracia," which none 
but an Andaluza can ever hope to attain. This word 
is not to be translated ; we have no equivalent for it 
in English, so it is no use seeking for it in the pages 
of the dictionary- It means a certain sort of inde- 
scribable piquancy, a sort of saucy grace, which must 
be seen to be understood. 

As the Maja moves along she is saluted on every side 
with compliments and speeches of exaggerated praise, full, 
however, of poetic originality, which the men bestow on 
every woman whose dress, face or carriage has anything 
which pleases them. Such speeches here are no insult, 
on the contrary, they are a homage which men would 
almost think themselves rude if they neglected to pay. 
N umbers of chairs are placed about the promenade, 
where those who are fatigued with walking can rest 
and criticise the passing crowd ; while many who dislike 
the trouble of returning to the town during the heat 
of the day, have tents pitched, where they breakfast, 
dine, and spend the day, keeping in fact open house 
during the fair. 

We must, however, turn from the aristocratic portion of 



the Feria, to the busy scene in which the people take 
the principal part, and where the peculiarities of Spanish 
costumes and Spanish manners still linger. This offers 
the greatest attraction to strangers. The eye rests first 
upon a long line of gipsy booths, each decorated with the 
red and yellow flag of Spain, where these strange people, 
decked out in all their finery, sit at the doors of the tents, 
making " bunuelos," a compound of flower and water, 
converted into a paste, and fried in oil. Eating these 
bunuelos at the fair of Seville, is as indispensable as 
whitebait at a Greenwich dinner, and every gipsy as you 
pass, enlarges on the superiority of her own, and invites 
you to go in and rest in her neatly-arranged tent. 

They are all decked with pink and blue curtains, and 
clean little tables, where refreshments are to be had and 
fortunes told, although in this latter proceeding they do 
not seem to be as accomplished as their " dark" sisters in 
England. At night, these booths are lighted up, and 
thronged with dancers, who remain till a late hour. All 
around is a chaos of sounds of the most discordant nature, 
the chattering of the gipsies, the loud talking of the men 
who are buying and selling, disputing and bargaining, 
mingling with the multifarious noises proceeding from 
so many animals all congregated together. The choicest 
steeds from the renowned plains of Cordoba, fierce bulls 
from the flat grounds that border the Guadalquivir, troops 
of mules and of donkeys, of sheep and goats, are scattered 
about the fair in every direction. The din and whirl 
is beyond description : it is not with the voice alone 
that men converse, their hands are as eloquent as their 
tongues, and their flashing eyes and vehement gesticula- 
tions form altogether a scene of confusion, such as in our 
cool northern lands can hardly be imagined. 

Now and then the scene is varied by the arrival of 
a Majo, or dandy, very gaily dressed, with his lady-love 



on the horse behind him; the steed brightly caparisoned, 
with its striped red and yellow mantas and hanging fringe. 
The Majo himself, in his embroidered jacket, covered with 
gold and silver buttons, his two pocket handkerchiefs, 
which are quite indispensable, peeping out of his pocket 
on either side, and his embroidered gaiters most curiously 
worked in leather. The crowd make way for a calesa, 
which resembles the antiquated vehicles still in use at 
N aples, painted in all the most gaudy colours imaginable ;• 
the man sitting on the shafts to drive, with difficulty 
forcing his carriage through the throng, who are warned of 
his arrival by the jingling of the horse's bells. Amid 
all this congregated mass of human beings, talking, 
laughing, quarrelling, and singing, gipsies try to allure 
people into buying horses which have been made up and 
arranged for the occasion, while in other places they 
endeavour quietly to appropriate some stray goat or 
tempting pig, which disappears as if by magic from 
among its comrades, while its owner looks in vain for the 
active cunning culprit. 

Numbers of foreigners may be seen forcing their way 
through the crowd, endeavouring to see everything that is 
going on : specimens of every nation ; the grave and steady 
German ; the light-hearted Frenchman, determined to be 
amused, entering into everything, utterly regardless what 
amusement he affords to others so long as he is amused 
himself ; and last of all, abound our own countrymen, their 
independent style of dress rendering them visible at any 
distance, and the cry of " Ingles, Ingles !" always greets 
them as they pass along, as surely as though they bore the 
word imprinted on their wide-awakes and shooting coats, 
their identity being rendered even more unmistakeable 
when they >eek to shelter it under the guise of the 
" sombrero calanes" and the " calesera Andaluz." And 
what different shades of character ! with what varied 



feelings are they gazing on the animated scene around ! 
Here are a party of officers from Gibraltar, who have 
rushed over to " do" Seville, and the fair, and the Holy 
Week, and the bull-fights, all in the same breath. There 
stands another individual, cold and wrapt in his own 
English formality, looking on solemnly, and wondering 
how people can be amused with such nonsense ; while 
another putting aside all this grandeur, mixes himself in 
everything, thinks it all capital fun, and sits down to 
help the Gitanas in making their bunuelos. Then come 
some Americans, pitying people for finding so much 
novelty in a Spanish fair, assuring them if they would 
only to come to the States they would find something 
worth seeing. 

English ladies, too, were there in abundance, walking 
up and down amongst their dark rivals, some studying 
every feature of the scene, and trying to stamp its varied 
episodes on the pages of their drawing-books. Laughing- 
urchins, their eyes sparkling with mischief, were disputing 
for the honour of sitting as models ; some one appointing 
himself as guard of honour, and preventing others incon- 
veniencing the sketcher, quite forgetting he was himself 
the most intrusive of them all. One Englishwoman, more 
sentimental than the rest, scarcely heeded the busy scene, 
so occupied was she in bringing to her mind the dreadful 
fires of the Inquisition, and vainly striving to ascertain 
the identical spot where the victims were sacrificed. 
A young enthusiast, too, was there, one who was drinking 
deep of the Castalian spring ; but he was out of his element 
in this bewildering crowd ; he sought seclusion and retire- 
ment in the poetic realms of Granada, and when we 
met him again, he was dwelling in the courts of the 
Alhambra, seeking for what he himself called, " the 

The fair lasts three days, and among its principal 



amusements, it is needless to say, are the bull-fights, 
the " corridas" where the Andalucians are to be seen in 
all their glory. Here they reign supreme ; within these 
precincts everything bows to the will of the sovereign 
people ; within its sanguinary area they reign undisturbed. 
Governments rule with a rod of iron, but on the threshold 
of the bull-ring their authority ceases, and here indeed 
may be found that freedom of which they are always, 
boasting. " Spaniards are all equal in the sight of the 
law," is the first watchword of that constitution which 
is at this very moment trembling for its existence, and 
the foreigner who obtained his first opinion of the 
country from a " corrida," would be inclined to subscribe 
to the truth of the proposition. The fact is, the freedom 
which exists within the bull-ring, is exactly in an inverse 
proportion to that which reigns without. The more 
absolute the government, the more it suits them to 
humour the people ; and so long as the naughty wayward 
child will not meddle with politics, but pay its taxes and 
hold its tongue, there cannot possibly be any objection to 
its amusing itself in the manner most agreeable to its fancy. 

It may be regretted that there should be so much 
brutality in bull-fights, for as a spectacle they are 
beautiful, and the skill and address exhibited by the 
actors deserving of the highest meed of praise. What 
can be more animated than the Plaza before the 
performances begin ? — the huge amphitheatre crowded 
with thousands of people in their gay costumes, the 
sparkling sun-light, the bright azure sky above,- the clash 
of military music, the noise of the eager multitude, all 
combine to present a most attractive and engrossing 
scene. When the " cuadrilla" enters in procession and 
the "picadores" take up their position, and the active 
" chulos," in their brilliant dresses, disperse themselves 
over the arena, with their many-coloured " capas" 

p 2 



fluttering in the air, it is impossible not to feel the 
excitement of the moment, as the gates are thrown 
open at the sound of a trumpet, and the wild brute, the 
hero of the scene, rushes into the midst. But, how soon 
the aspect changes ! Who but a Spaniard can look 
without horror and disgust at the barbarities to which 
the wretched horses are subjected ? Torn and mangled, 
• ridden till strength is exhausted, or left to die there, their 
bodies strewn around in every stage of expiring nature — 
it is too horrible ! Many close their eyes, it is true, to 
these details, and ladies' fans are in requisition to shut 
out the more tragic incidents ; but they inevitably occur, 
and are now inseparable from the proceedings of the day. 
Time was when the "picador" rode a splendid steed, 
and exercised all his skill to save him ; and therefore the 
number of horses killed during the " corrida" was a sure 
criterion of the ferocity of the bulls, and consequent 
excitement of the sport. This doubtless led to the 
present practice of selecting the most worthless horses, 
which, instead of any effort being made to save them, 
are deliberately sacrificed to lend a fictitious appearance 
of fierceness to the bulls. The relief felt by the spectator 
is indescribable, when the varying changes of the drama 
put an end to the cruelties inflicted on the horses, and 
the " matador" enters alone and unaided, with nothing 
but his sword and crimson flag, his skill and nerve, to 
meet the maddened beast in the closing struggle. No 
one can fail to admire the grace and perfect self-possession 
displayed by a first-rate " espada," the firm yet elastic 
step, the ready hand, the cool eye, with which he plays 
with his terrible foe, and dares him to the attack, till the 
final moment, when mid-way in his maddened rush, he is 
checked by the cunning lounge, and drops lifeless at the 
feet of his assailant. 

When one reflects on the customs and manners of the 



country, of the feeling of cruelty which seems almost 
naturally to pervade the lower orders in every land, one 
can hardly be surprised at the admiration which the 
Spaniards entertain for a pastime in which there is so 
much to strike the imagination and so much address 
exhibited. In this country there is no society for the 
prevention of cruelty to animals, and people are never 
lectured about the wickedness of torturing them. From 
earliest childhood they are taken to see this favourite 
amusement of all classes, and are thus accustomed to 
witness the cruel features of the scene before the mind 
is sufficiently matured to enable them to reason on the 
subject ; in fact, it grows with their growth, and they 
cannot comprehend its atrocity. Even the Infanta, when 
she goes, always takes her children. People, however, 
must not fancy that there is but one opinion in Spain 
with regard to bull-fights. Many Spaniards among the 
upper classes condemn them as loudly as we could do ; 
and even in the lower orders I have heard several 
declare they did not approve of them. 

A great change must take place in many ways before 
bull-fights will cease to become the favourite amusement 
of Spaniards. With the exception of Madrid, they are 
not, however, by any means of frequent occurrence, not 
more than three or four great ones taking place during 
the year. The celebrated espada, Montes, the prince of 
toreros, whose grace and elegance w r ere unsurpassed, 
died about a twelvemonth ago. He left two representa- 
tives, who disputed the palm of superiority — Arjona and 
Redondo, better known by the names of Cuchares and 
Chiclanero. Some favoured one, some the other ; the 
gentlemen generally asserting the superiority of the 
former, while the ladies took the latter under their 
especial patronage, his personal appearance being more 
prepossessing than that of his rival. But the contest 



is now at an end ; the recent death of Chiclanero, who 
died of consumption at Madrid during the last spring, 
has left Cuchares the sole champion of the arena. He 
generally resides at Seville, of which place he is a 
native ; he has realised a considerable fortune, and has 
the reputation of being a very kind-hearted and charitable 

The Plaza de Toros at Seville is one of the largest in 
Spain ; as usual, it remains unfinished, but the vacancy 
thus left admits a view of the Giralda, which adds very 
much to the beauty of the spectacle. 

Although the neighbourhood of Seville does not present 
the same attractions as the mountain scenery round 
Granada, many pretty rides may be taken through its 
olive-covered plains ; more particularly along the low ridge 
of hills which rise in front of it, on the right bank of the 
Guadalquivir. The church of the ruined convent of San 
Juan de Alfarache crowns one of these hills, and is 
conspicuous from every quarter. In front, there is a 
platform which commands an enchanting view of Seville, 
with its snowy houses, its towers, its churches, its 
cathedral, and Giralda. The remains of the walls of 
a former fortress may be traced along the edge of 
the cliff, beneath which winds the river, covered with 
graceful sails. 

This is a favourite place of resort on Sundays and 
fete days, when the people come and dance on the 
platform. The Guadalquivir is crowded with boats, and 
the music of the guitar and castanets, with the wild 
seguidillas re-echo along its waters. I cannot call them 
crystal, for the classic Betis is as muddy a river as one 
could well have the pleasure of seeing. It winds about 
in most fantastic turns ; and although San Juan is only a 
short walk straight across the fields by Triana, the long- 
sweep taken by the river makes it appear a considerable 



distance, to those who go by water. This convent 
belonged to* the Franciscans, who first established them- 
selves in 1398 in the buildings which were afterwards 
occupied by the Carthusians in Santa Maria de las Cuevas. 
Its courts are now deserted, and an old man keeps 
the key of the church, where service is sometimes 
performed. There is a retablo very much overloaded 
with ornaments, but containing some tolerable pictures ; 
there is likewise a miraculous baptismal font, which used 
to replenish itself every year on Holy Saturday. 

A fine wide road leads along the plain behind Triana to 
the village of Santi Ponce and the remains of Italica ; or 
one may vary the ride by keeping to the high ground, and 
passing Castilleja de la Cuesta. An inscription over the 
door of a small house in this village marks the dwelling 
where Hernan Cortes died, the conqueror of Mexico, and 
one of the many victims of Spain's ingratitude. Little 
now remains of Italica : a small and ruined amphitheatre 
still proves that it was once a Roman city, but the birth- 
place of Trajan is now little better than a quarry which 
supplies materials for adjacent buildings. This is the 
only use that Spaniards make of ruins. The stones are 
cut and fashioned ready at hand, and they may as well 
be turned to account. They serve to erect other edifices, 
which, in their turn, may be employed as quarries by 
future generations. 

The neighbouring convent of San Isidoro del Campo 
was partly erected with the stones from Italica, and 
now it stands a mere ruin likewise. Half fortress, 
half convent ; it bears witness to the former magni- 
ficence of the Guzmans, and commands a charming 
view of the surrounding country. It was founded by 
Guzman el Bueno, one of the great heroes of Spanish 
history, on the spot where the bones of St. Isidore, the 
learned Bishop of Seville, had been discovered. It was 



endowed with large possessions and territorial jurisdiction, 
and belonged to the Jeronymites. It wears now a sad 
aspect of desolation ; and nothing can be more melancholy 
than its lonely cloisters, all covered with a damp mossy 

The church consists of two naves ; in the principal 
one, which was erected by Guzman, he and his wife lie 
interred on either side of the high altar. 

Here lies the intrepid chieftain, who, with more than 
Spartan fortitude, saw his son murdered before his face- 
rather than surrender the fortress of Tarifa, which he 
had assisted his sovereign in rescuing from the Moor-. 
He served his country well, and at last fell in a skirmish 
near Gaucin in the year 1309. His son and daughter-iu- 
law are buried in the adjoining chapel. The retablo is 
by Montanes, and contains a beautiful statue of St. 
Jerome by this celebrated sculptor. 

Returning to Triana, you pass the Carthusian monastery 
of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, once renowned for its 
wealth, now converted into a porcelain manufactory under 
the management of an Englishman. The beautifully 
carved wood-work of the choir has been transferred to the 
Museum ; a small portion, however, still remains in a 
chapel which Mr. Pickman keeps consecrated to its origual 
purpose. The large church is converted into a workshop, 
and men are now busy manufacturing porcelain within its 
precincts. The gardens, which are very extensive, are 
filled with orange-trees ; and in one corner those English 
are buried who happen to die in Seville, for here the 
Protestants have no cemetery of their own, and none but 
those who profess the established religion of the land can 
be interred within the burial-grounds. 

The corporation of Seville have lately had a new 
cemetery laid out on the northern side of the town, 
ostensibly for the greater benefit of the inhabitants who 



were subjected in summer to the wind blowing all the 
malaria from the old cemetery over the town. In reality, 
however, a desire to be agreeable in higher quarters has 
had some small share in the extreme interest shown in 
this instance for the public health ; the Infanta and the 
Duke not approving of the close vicinity of the old 
cemetery to the gardens of the Palace. 

The old walls of Seville are in some parts very well 
preserved, and some of the square towers still look 
imposing. Some portions are picturesque enough, more 
particularly near the Cahos de Carmona : an aqueduct 
by which water is conveyed from Alcala de Guadaira 
to the city. This town lies on the high road to 
Madrid, about two leagues from Seville, and a charming 
excursion may be made to it. Alcala is almost entirely 
inhabited by bakers, the bread consumed in Seville 
being made there. The greatest care is bestowed upon 
the preparation of the corn, and the kneading of it ; 
and certainly their labour is not in vain, for Spanish 
bread is first-rate, very white and close. 

/Ucala boasts of the remains of one of the largest 
Moorish castles in Andalucia. It is a picturesque ruin, a 
delightful place for a pic-nic : such shady grass-grown 
courts, such fine old walls to scramble among, such views 
to repay those who have enterprise enough to ascend 
its towers ! The Guadaira flows along the base of the 
hill on which it stands, while the Giralda towering in 
the distance, marks the site of Seville. 

There are many pleasant rides over the plains which 
surround Seville, and what with the excursions in the 
neighbourhood, and the many interesting things enclosed 
within its walls, a winter may be very agreeably spent 
by those who do not care about society, for in that 
respect, as I have before mentioned, Seville offers nothing 
to tempt the traveller. But it has its charms : its lovely 



houses, and its fine climate make it a very liveable place, 
and its vicinity to Cadiz renders it easy of access. 

There is hardly any winter here ; a bright sun and an 
unclouded sky cheer one even at Christmas. February is 
generally the worst season, wet and cold and uncom- 
fortable, but it does not last long, and the climate is 
infinitely preferable to to that of Malaga. It is certainly 
much damper, and more rain falls than at Malaga, 
although even here the wet days are few. But it is free 
from the dry, cold winds and insupportable dust which 
render the latter so disagreeable ; there is a far greater 
softness and mildness in the air, and its lovely walks along 
the banks of the river are always charming. But the 
winter and spring are the enjoyable months ; in summer 
the heat is insupportable. Even in the month of May the 
streets become like furnaces ; and then all who can leave 
the town, take refuge on the coast, and emigrate to catch 
the sea breezes at San Lucar and Cadiz ; and those who 
are obliged to remain during the summer months, descend 
to the ground-floor, and live under the shade of the 
awning, amid the fountains and the flowers of their 
patios, where they shut themselves up all day long, 
only going out when the night is far advanced to enjoy 
the cool air. 

Seville is rather expensive for a Spanish town, but still, 
living here is moderate enough, and there is not anything 
to tempt people to spend their money, except on the actual 
necessaries of life. The narrow streets and bad pavement 
render it almost a penance to go out in a carriage, and 
the bad roads in the neighbourhood deter one from 
driving in the country. Horses, however, are easily had, 
and excellent ones too, spirited yet gentle, as Andalucian 
horses generally are. There is little to invite one in the 
shops ; unlike the numerous temptations offered to the 
traveller in every Italian town, here it is almost impossible 


to procure any object which might serve even as a 
souvenir of the place. 

It is surprising that Seville is not more resorted to 
than it is. There is no doubt that the difficulty of pro- 
curing furnished apartments is a great drawback to 
strangers, more particularly to invalids. There are 
some few medical men who have fair reputations for skill, 
and a considerable improvement has undoubtedly been 
made on the old Spanish ideas of medical science, when 
bleeding was considered the infallible remedy for every 
disease that mortal man is heir to. Some of the rising 
school have been educated in Paris ; and invalids may place 
for more confidence in them, and feel far more security 
than the generally received accounts of Spanish doctors 
would lead them to imagine. It is, however, very difficult 
to divest oneself of old prejudices, and people have so long 
been accustomed to hear of the low state of the medical 
profession in Spain, that they forget its members can 
improve as well as other people. The system they adopt, 
likewise tends to discourage English visitors, and inspire 
them with a want of confidence ; for accustomed as they 
are to the strong medicines and violent remedies employed 
at home, they are too apt to look with great distrust, 
nay, almost with contempt, on prescriptions which are 
principally composed of decoctions of mallow, violets, 
" caldo bianco," and such like innocent remedies, which 
prove, however, very efficacious in this hot climate. It 
would, perhaps, be as well for foreigners to remember, 
that in these southern lands the medical men of the 
country are far more likely to understand w r hat treatment 
may be suitable for incidental complaints, than those who 
are alike strangers to the climate, the air, and, in fact, 
every local peculiarity. 

Notwithstanding the absence of society, and other 
drawbacks, no one can reside for any time in Seville 


without retaining pleasant recollections of many happ\ 
and agreeable hours spent beneath its azure sky, during 
its bright sunny winter months. Its streets and houses 
have a joyous look, and no one can fail to like its kind 
and light-hearted people, who, in spite of many faults, 
have charms which are peculiarly their own. 

There is constant communication between Seville and 
Cadiz, by means of steamers, which go backwards and 
forwards almost every, day. The fares are high, but 
people here have not yet learned to understand that low 
fares increase the numbers of passengers. The view of 
Seville from the river is very pretty, but once past 
San Juan de Alfarache and the orange groves opposite 
to it, nothing can be more uninteresting or tiresome, 
than the whole course of the Guadalquivir to the sea. 
Flat plains, almost level with the water's edge, are alone to 
be seen, where huge droves of cattle roam about undis- 
turbed, and where the effect of the mirage is repeated 
at every turn of the river, while flights of wild fowl 
hover above. Water is raised from it at the feu 
villages along its banks, much in the same way as from 
the Nile, by means of a pole with a bucket at one end. 
There is nothing to relieve the monotony until the vast 
pine forests of San Lucar de Barrameda offer some 
slight variety. Here, at a short distance from San Lucar, 
at a place called Bonanza, the steamers stop to land 
those passengers who prefer crossing overland to Cadiz. 
It is sometimes very rough going over the bar, and 
many avail themselves of this mode of avoiding the sea 
portion of the trip. 

San Lucar is a great resort for the inhabitants of 
Seville in summer, and the Infanta is now building a 
palace there. Crossing the bar, you come out into the 
open sea. On your left stands the white church of 
of N. S. de Regla, on the promontory of Chipiona. 



This sanctuary belonged formerly to the Augustines, 
and contains a miraculous image of the Virgin, held 
in much veneration by sailors. Soon, the white houses 
of the sea-girt city rise from the surface of the ocean, 
protected from its stormy rage by walls, against which 
the surge breaks in sheets of foam, and the tall masts 
of the shipping give signs of life and commerce. 

Cadiz may be seen in a few hours : it affords little 
of interest ; and though in point of fact the most ancient, 
it appears the most modern of Spanish towns. The 
streets are narrow, but kept in excellent order ; the houses 
very high, with flat roofs, and lofty miradores, whence 
many a lovely view may be obtained of the bay, the 
distant mountains, and the blue waters of the Atlantic 
dotted with tiny sails. The town, from its position, is 
naturally very limited in its extent : it stands upon a 
peninsula connected with the main land by a long and 
narrow causeway, over which the sea dashes in stormy 
weather. It is fortified as well upon the land as the 
sea side, and its walls look formidable enough, however 
neglected and ineffective they may be in reality. Cadiz 
is a kind of prison on a large scale, for, except by sea, 
there is but one way out of the town, leading along the 
narrow strip of land just mentioned, where the cemeteries 
are placed. Here, there is one for the English, very 
prettily laid out. There are some fine squares. The 
Alameda lies along the walls, overlooking the sea and 
bay, and here, for want of a larger space, the inhabitants 
have to walk. Cadiz is badly supplied with water, 
and what they have is collected from the roofs of 
the houses during the wet season, and preserved in 
tanks. The streets are lighted with gas, rather a novelty 
in Spain. 

There is a very pretty theatre, and a great deal more 
society here than at Seville, even in winter, and in summer 



it is rendered very gay by the numbers who come to 
take advantage of the sea bathing. The cathedral is a 
modern structure, full of costly marbles, but exhibiting 
more richness than good taste. It was built nearly 
entirely at the expense of the late bishop, who devoted 
all his resources to this object. He was greatly beloved, 
and died, as he lived, almost in poverty. The most 
interesting building in Cadiz is the old Capuchin Convent, 
now a school for children. In its gardens are some of 
the finest palm-trees in Andalucia, and amongst them 
I noticed the doum-palm which grows in Upper Egypt. 
In the church are some fine works of Murillo, and 
no one can contemplate the altar-piece of the " Marriage 
of St. Catherine," without feelings of interest, for this, 
the artist's last performance, was in reality the cause 
of his death. He fell from the scaffold while painting 
it, and was so severely injured that he was conveyed 
to Seville, where he died shortly afterwards. This altar- 
piece w r as finished by one of his pupils. 

A pleasant sail may be taken round the bay. The low 
ground at the upper end presents a curious appearance 
from the pyramids of salt which glitter in the sun : large 
quantities are produced by simple evaporation beneath 
the sun's rays. Salt is another of the Government mono- 
polies in Spain. They carry their fear of its being inter- 
fered with to such an extent, that they do not allow any 
water to be taken from the sea lest a few grains of salt 
might be extracted from it. To procure a salt-water bath 
you must have a permission signed by a medical man, or 
give a gentle fee in the right quarter. Fancy Protection, 
not satisfied with endeavouring to fetter the produce of 
the earth, but seeking to extend its dominions over the 
very waters of the ocean ! 

A visit should be paid to the Caraccas, formerly the 
great naval arsenal; but its workshops are now tenant- 



less and deserted. The country that possessed the first 
navy in the world, whose galleons brought the tribute 
of new worlds to her shores, has never recovered the fatal 
battle of Trafalgar, when she paid for her alliance with 
France by the destruction of her fleet. Much as one 
may moan over the ruins of stately edifices, whose archi- 
tectural beauties may have been defaced by revolutionary 
madness, or the fury of invading armies, there is yet 
something more painful in remains such as these, where 
once the busy hum of active industry resounded. The 
former tell of the wealth or of the piety of private indi- 
viduals ; but the latter speak of the wealth and power 
of a nation — attest the dominion it formerly exercised — 
the grandeur of empire which has passed away. Well 
indeed may Spain exclaim in the words of her poet : 

Aprcnded, flores, de mi 
Lo que va de aver a boy ; 
Que aver maravilla fue 
Y hoy sombra mia, no soy. 



The sacred taper's lights arc gone, 
Grey moss has clad the altar stone, 
The holy image is o'crthrown, 

The bell has ceased to toll. 
The long-ribbed aisles arc burst and shrunk, 
The holy shrines to ruin sunk, 
Departed is the pious monk, 

God's blessing on his soul ! 







It was on one of those delicious spring days that 
gladden the month of May in this heavenly clime, that 
we went on board the steamer which plies between Cadiz 



and Puerto Santa Maria, or " the Puerto," as it is more 
emphatically called by the inhabitants of the neighbouring 
towns. The bay never wore a lovelier aspect ; the snow- 
white city ri>ing from the blue waters, with its green 
balconies so fresh and bright, and in the distance the 
tall peaks of the Serrania of Ronda, whither we were 
about to bend our steps. 

All looked beautiful, and our spirits too were buoyant, 
animated by the scene around, and the prospect of a 
regular expedition before us — a good scramble through 
the wild Sierras. No one who has not made this sort of 
tour can understand the full enjoyment to be derived from 
it — an enjoyment which those w T ho study only how^ to 
travel with the greatest amount of comfort can never 
appreciate. Let none whose ideas of travel and its 
delights are associated with rolling over a capital road 
in a luxurious carriage drawn by four swift horses, and 
looking forward all the while to the well-dressed dinner 
and warm rooms, all in readiness for their reception, — let 
none who consider these things an indispensable accom- 
paniment to travelling venture on an excursion through 
the mountains of Andalucia. But to those who for a 
while can postpone personal indulgences for the contem- 
plation of the beauties of nature, who love to see some- 
thing of the manners and habits of the people in whose 
land they are wandering, who care not for the fatigues 
and discomforts they may have to encounter, but are 
ready to be satisfied with everything, and take all that 
may befal them with a light heart and a merry laugh, a 
riding tour is one of those enjoyable events which only 
those who have tried can thoroughly appreciate. 

"What can be more exhilarating than the fresh mountain 
air, the early rising, the wild life of going where you like 
and stopping when it pleaseth you ; the mid-day halt for 
refreshment in some shady spot where the air is cooled 




with running water, the ride again at each turn offering 
some enchanting prospect, ever-changing, ever- varying ; 
and then the arrival ; the preparations for the evening 
meal, and for passing the night as comfortably as means 
will allow, affording a never-ending source of amusement ; 
the groups scattered round the fires at the country ventas ; 
the constant intercourse with the people among whom 
you are so completely thrown, the insight it affords you 
into their habits, the plans to be arranged for the morrow, 
all combine to give to riding excursions in these Southern 
climes a peculiar charm ! The bright, unclouded sky 
above infuses into one fresh life and vigour; and after 
such expeditions, all other modes of travelling appear flat 
and uninteresting. 

Our steamer was not the most orthodox specimen of 
naval architecture ; but it did all that was required of it, 
and carried its passengers backwards and forwards three 
or four times a-day under the guidance of an Irish 
engineer, who doctored the machinery whenever it fell 
sick, and who declared that it went " as well, if not 
better," than when it was new. Myles Cogan was the name 
of the guardian-angel who had presided over the safety- 
valves of this crazy old thing for upwards of six years ; 
and a very characteristic specimen he was of his race, 
with his shrewd, laughing, grey eye, his mouth stretching 
from ear to ear, and his whole countenance beaming with 
good-nature. He has taken to himself a Spanish wife, 
and the youthful offspring claim a common descent from 
the O' Cogan and the Cid, " the shamrock of Erin and the 
olive of Spain." He was charmed at finding some of his 
countrymen on board, and offered his services in the 
fashion of his adopted land ; at the same time wisely 
retiring to perform for us the most effectual service in his 
power, that of guiding us safely into the harbour of Port 
St. Mary. 



The Custom House officers not finding that our baggage 
contained many contraband articles, were content to let us 
pass without molestation ; and having engaged our places 
in the diligence which runs between this place and Xeres, 
we proceeded to refresh ourselves at the hospitable 
mansion of a friend, where we were most warmly and 
kindly received. This place is uninteresting, but is 
much frequented in summer by those who fly from the 
heat of Seville and the neighbouring towns ; there are 
likewise some resident wealthy families, the wine 
trade being carried on almost as extensively here as at 
Xeres, for which latter town it serves as the point of 

Our diligence started very punctually, and we were 
soon ensconced in the interior with two such companions ! 
Two perfect specimens of the oldest, fattest, and ugliest 
women that this land — which, by the way, is not deficient 
in such articles — could produce. In these sultry climes 
beauty quickly passes away ; and certainly the more 
ancient portion of the population, be they male or female, 
retain very little of the good looks with which they may 
have been blessed in their more juvenile days. One of 
our friends was endowed with a most remarkable 
appendage, which lent an additional charm to her 
countenance, in the shape of a pair of black, wiry 
moustaches, whose luxuriance would have shamed many 
a young aspirant to such honours. The heat was great, 
and was rendered still more insupportable by the dust — 
that curse of this dry, thirsty land, which envelopes you 
on the high road, and forms no small addition to the 
many inconveniences which accompany travelling by 
diligence in the Peninsula. 

The country was arrayed in an emerald garb, the corn 
was ripe — and indeed much of it had been already cut — 
the road was in capital order, and the view over the bay 

q 2 



from a small eminence quite magnificent. The distant 
city seemed no unworthy rival of stately Venice, as she 
rose from the ocean, with her sea-girt walls and snow- 
white houses, and from that distance appeared so lovely, 
that the proud Queen of the Adriatic need hardly have 
felt herself injured by the comparison. Near the road, about 
half way to Xeres, a small ruined castle, embosomed in 
trees, is pointed out as the prison of the fair Blanche of 
Bourbon, the injured and persecuted wife of Peter the 
Cruel. Here, they say, she was murdered by the orders 
of her husband, who, after the death of his favourite, 
Maria de Padilla, finding no longer any excuse for 
treating her with his previous neglect, determined to put 
her out of the way, in order to free himself from an 
alliance which he had always regarded with horror. 
I know not why tradition should have selected this spot 
as the scene of this foul crime, for historians seem 
tolerably agreed that she was murdered at Medina 
Sidonia, in the fortress of which place she had been for 
some time imprisoned. The noble-minded governor 
refused to obey the cruel mandate, but a tyrant always 
finds minions ready to minister to his cruelty ; and Ortiz 
de Zuiiiga was quickly replaced by one who consented to 
sacrifice the mild and virtuous queen at the command of 
his royal master. 

Whether this spot be or not, the scene where the ill- 
fated Blanche terminated a life of suffering, the plains 
below are classic ground in Spanish history. Through 
them a silver stream may be seen meandering, its waters 
now glistening in the sun, now concealed, its course 
only marked by the sails of the small boats which are 
taking their cargoes of wine down from Xeres to the 
Puerto. This stream is the Guadalete, which eleven 
hundred years ago flowed down in the self same course, 
red w ith the blood of contending armies ; and on those 



plains was decided the fate of the Gothic empire in Spain. 
On the low ground which intervenes between this river 
and the town of Medina Sidonia, the armies of the 
Moslem and the Christian met. At the expiration of 
eight days of continuous conflict, the Cross was trampled 
in the dust, and the Caliphs of the East claimed one of 
the fairest provinces in Europe as their own. The 
remnant of the Christian host fled into the remote 
corners of the Asturias, whence the descendants of Pelayo 
gradually emerged to regain the kingdom that Roderick 
had lost. The fifteenth century beheld the final de- 
struction of the Moslem power in the west of Europe; 
but the same century saw it established in the east, 
and the banner of Islam waved upon the walls of 
Constantinople a few short years before it was lowered 
from the citadel of Granada. 

At a place called El Portal, the wines of Jerez are 
shipped for conveyance down the river to the Puerto, 
where the Guadalete falls into the bay. A railroad is 
now, however, in progress between Xeres and Cadiz, and 
is rapidly approaching completion. The town presented 
a gay and animated appearance as we entered ; it was 
Ascension Day, and many groups were scattered about 
in the Plaza enjoying themselves. .Like most of the 
cities in Audalucia, it is clean and joyous-looking, the 
whitewashed houses and green balconies stamping it 
with the same peculiar character possessed by Seville. 
It contains many handsome houses, some the abode 
of ancient noble families, others belonging to those 
wealthy merchants whose fortunes lie in its vine-clad 
hills. It offers but little of interest in the way of 
architectural monuments. .The enormous wine-stores or 
"bodegas" form the chief source of attraction, and are 
the " lions" generally visited by travellers. Here in 
large shed-roofed buildings, above ground, are ranged 



hundreds and thousands of casks, containing wines of 
every price and quality, and affording to the connoisseur 
an interesting study, in learning how by frequent and 
skilful mixing of the produce of the different vineyards, 
the famous wines of Xeres are prepared for the foreign 

The church of San Miguel is fine, the exterior 
remarkably pretty ; but the richly decorated pillars of 
Gothic work are disfigured by such an incrustation of 
whitewash, that little of their beauty is left. The 
Collegiate church has not much to recommend it ; it 
did not appear either to be much frequented, for we were 
there during the celebration of high mass, and the 
congregation did not consist of more than half a dozen 
old women ; but then it was neither Sunday nor a fete 

The object of greatest interest in the neighbourhood of 
Xeres is the celebrated Cartuja, or Carthusian monastery, 
which stands on an eminence about a league from the 
town, overhanging the Guadalete, and commanding an 
extensive view of the vineyards and corn-fields of the 
surrounding country, many a rich tract of which belonged 
to its former possessors. We spent a whole day there, 
sketching and wandering about its deserted halls and 
cloisters. The coach which conveyed us thither was one 
of those antiquated vehicles, which might have formed the 
pride of our ancestors some hundred years ago. It was 
drawn by five horses. They managed to carry us over 
the dangers of the road without any adventure worth 
recording ; dragging us and our lumbering vehicle at a 
measured pace through the dust, which was nearly axle 
deep, and over ruts which would have upset anything but 
a Spanish carriage, driven by a Spaniard, and drawn by 
Spanish horses. 

Like all Carthusian convents, it is a splendid pile of 


building. Here the followers of San Bruno, if their 
enemies say true, made amends for the severity of the 
rules imposed on them by their founder, by enjoying every 
luxury wealth could afford. Extensive courtyards, now 
all covered with weeds and grass, led into a succession of 
patios and pillared cloisters, adorned with marble fountains 
or tall sombre cypresses. From the largest cloister — a 
magnificent square of a hundred paces — opened out 
the cells of the monks, disposed with every regard to 
comfort and neatness, being divided into summer and 
winter habitations, and having a small garden behind 
each, commanding the most enchanting views. Thence 
they could gaze upon their broad lands, and watch 
the proud steeds roaming through the pastures on the 
plains beneath. These served to keep up the fine race 
of Andalucian horses, for which the Cartuja was famous, 
an employment which however incongruous it may appear, 
with a life of religious meditation, formed one of the most 
important and lucrative occupations of the worthy monks. 
I cannot quite go as far as a Spanish writer, who declares 
no pilgrim ever visited this monastery without wishing to 
end his days in so enchanting a spot ; but it is very 
beautiful, and sad indeed is the appearance it presents 
in its now dilapidated condition. A more melancholy 
scene I never gazed on than these deserted courts, 
where the silence of the monks has been succeeded by 
the silence of desolation, where the crumbling walls and 
desecrated altars bear witness to the sacrilegious hands 
which have invaded their holy places. 

Such scenes as these, make us think of the days when 
the same might have been witnessed in our own country. 
A\ e now contemplate the ruined monasteries of England 
with delight and admiration ; the time which has elapsed 
since their destruction has softened down the harsher and 
more painful features of their fall ; and as we gaze upon 



them, enraptured with their picturesque appearance, we 
forget that they must have presented an aspect as sad as 
that of the one we had before us, when in the first fury 
of religious zeal, their altars were thrown down and 
desecrated ; but here, it is all too recent, too present for 
even the passing traveller to gaze upon such desolate 
scenes unmoved. We cannot help grieving over the blind 
fanaticism, or rather heartless policy which could not even 
spare the consecrated piles, when it drove forth their 
unhappy inmates from the homes which they had reared 
with such skill and labour. And here the attacks on 
religious property had not even the apology of a change 
of creed ; it did not come from those who were seeking to 
overturn the long established religion of the land. It 
came from her own sons — from those who, still professing 
obedience to the Church, deprived its clergy of all their 
revenues. The regular orders were almost entirely 
suppressed, and a certain number of secular clergy were 
placed on a par with the naval and military establish- 
ments, and received, and still receive, an annual stipend 
from the government. 

It was in 1 835 that this remarkable change took place 
in Spain — a change which however beneficial it may 
eventually prove, was accompanied by much hardship, 
suffering and injustice at the time. A strong feeling 
against the religious orders had been for some period 
gaining deep hold of people's minds. The abuses which 
existed in many convents, the conduct of the clergy 
themselves, and the manner in which men who had 
dedicated their lives to religious meditation and retirement 
from the world, forgot their vows amid the wealth and 
luxury they were enjoying, had predisposed all classes to 
look upon them with no very friendly eye ; and this feeling 
against them was rapidly increased by the state of political 
parties in the Peninsula at that period. Under the plea 



that they were favouring the cause of Don Carlos — of 
whom there is no doubt the large majority were most 
devoted adherents — the preparations for the coming blow 
were made by adding fuel to the flame, and inciting the 
anger of the people against them. The convents and 
monasteries were reported to be only so many asylums, 
where the adherents of the Pretender found a ready 
refuge and hearty welcome. Many were the reports 
spread in every direction, even that of poisoning the 
wells was industriously circulated. Popular fury burst 
forth at last. In Barcelona, Zaragoza, and other towns, 
the convents were attacked by the infuriated populace, 
the friars found no safety from their vengeance, even 
at the foot of the altars, which were crimsoned with their 
blood ; many fell victims to the rage of their enemies, 
while others with difficulty found safety in flight. The 
existing government seemed to bow before the general 
expression of popular feeling ; they resigned the power, 
which fell into the hands of Mendizabel, under whose 
ministry the decree came forth. The vast possessions of 
the clergy were confiscated, and the inmates of the 
monasteries and convents were thrown upon that world 
from which they had been so long secluded, wanderers 
and houseless, to commence life anew, receiving a small 
stipend, barely sufficient for their support. 

Many sought refuge in foreign climes, others retired to 
their homes, others accepted the charge of some neigh- 
bouring parish, while some few remained in their deserted 
convents. Sad must it have been for these last to wander 
through their ruined cloisters, those cold and dreary 
passages, once peopled by their brotherhood, and look 
down on the fruitful orchards and fair lands which once 
were theirs — now transferred to the hands of strangers, 
who enrich themselves with their produce while they 
reside in some distant spot. The sale of these vast 



possessions did not benefit the coffers of the state as 
much as was anticipated by those who have been so eager 
to bring about the work of spoliation. Many were afraid 
of investing money from a feeling of insecurity — a dread 
that some future government, actuated by different 
motives, might entertain the idea of restoring the con- 
fiscated property to its rightful owners. Much that was 
purchased was paid for in paper issued by the government, 
and some few may, perhaps, have been deterred from a 
feeling of reverential awe at appropriating to themselves 
property which so recently belonged to the Church. 

That the clergy possessed far too much wealth in this 
country no one will deny. The great number of monastic 
remains, which crowd every city and village in Spain, 
testify how they established themselves over the length 
and breadth of the land. Wheresoever the traveller turns 
his steps, he comes across some palace convent, rearing 
its head in the ancient capitals of Spain's many kingdoms ; 
or if he wanders into the mountain districts, he will find a 
monastic building nestling in the depths of the tranquil 
vale, or crowning with its frowning battlements the 
beetling crags of the lone Sierra. Nothing but ruins ! 
Spain is indeed a land of ruins, which tell of the 
power of the priesthood in days gone by, and of its utter 
nothingness in these. It has passed away as though it 
never had been ; and the country, where so much has 
been done in the name of religion, is now more indifferent 
to it than any other nation. Although much may have 
been gained by throwing so large an amount of property 
into general circulation among a class who will turn it 
to more account and diffuse its benefits more generally — 
although in a comprehensive view it may have benefited 
the country, still, individually, it must have been a sad 
blow to thousands of poor people, both in the towns 
and in the rural districts, who were employed by the 



religious communities, or who depended upon them for 
assistance and relief in their sufferings and distress. 
Here the great proprietors seldom visit their possessions ; 
in the country villages there is no one to whom the poor 
can look up to as their friends and protectors. This want 
was, in some measure, supplied by the convents ; a vast 
number of dependents clustered round these buildings, 
and their inmates were always ready to aid the poor and 
bestow alms upon the needy. If their possessions were 
extensive, they were at least resident landlords, and spent 
their revenues among the people from whom they were 
derived. None were turned away from their hospitable 
roofs. But now, huge piles of tottering walls alone 
remain to remind them that their benefactors have been 
removed ; all is silent, where the gentle voice of charity 
offered the means of lessening their misery in this world, 
while the minister of religion was ready to soothe them 
with words of comfort for the next. 

All great and sudden changes must be accompanied by 
suffering to some, and by gain to others, and in this 
instance many will be found who are as enthusiastic in 
their approbation of the extinction of the religious orders, 
as others will be vehement in condemning it. But, 
although there may much to be said in its favour, and 
much against it — as affecting the political or religious 
state of the country — much to praise and much to blame, 
but one opinion can be entertained as to the reckless spirit 
of destruction which has levelled to the ground some of 
the most glorious evidences of the faith and piety of 
byegone days, involving the inmates and their dwellings in 
one general annihilation. The preservation of their 
dwellings could not necessarily have involved the return of 
the monks ; they might have been adapted to other 
purposes, converted into some use which would have 
insured their preservation ; and some, which possessed 


beauty as specimens of architecture, or were celebrated as 
classic spots in Spanish history, might have been guarded 
for their own intrinsic worth. The great majority are con- 
verted into barracks or prisons, where the soldiers and the 
galley slaves destroy the venerable monuments, and pro- 
fane the cloister and the church ; while others are sold for 
the value of their materials, and a few thousand reals are 
taken for triumphs of architectural skill, which it would 
cost millions to erect. The libraries have been dispersed, 
or have mouldered away uncared for ; the pictures which 
adorned the churches, have been scattered among foreign 
collections, and many have been defaced and lost ; some of 
the elaborately carved choirs have been taken to museums, 
but many are rotting in the crumbling churches ; the 
ashes of the dead have been torn up and scattered to the 
winds, and the costly monuments, which the pride and 
piety of past generations led them to erect over the graves 
of their relatives, have been mutilated or destroyed. 

It is unfortunately too true — but it so nevertheless — 
that wherever the traveller turns his eye in Spain, he 
has but to exclaim : " How sad ! how melancholy ! what 
a pity this should be left to destruction !" He has to 
utter one unceasing lamentation, to moan over everything 
he sees, for everything speaks of neglect, decay and ruin. 
The same regrets may be re-echoed in every town he 
visits. A spirit of utilitarianism has seized hold of the 
Peninsula, and while Spaniards are sighing for railroads, 
and other evidences of the civilization of the nineteenth 
century, they are allowing all traces of the past to vanish 
from the land, forgetting that they might combine the 
two, and that while they seek to have a Present, 
worthy of other nations, they might still cherish all that 
could recal with pride the memory of the Past. 

But to return to the Cartuja, whose mouldering walls 
called forth the above remarks. This monastery was 

Didduwi Bio! IR. New Bond Street. 



founded in 14 75 by a Genoese, Alvaro Oberto de Valeto, 
and its Doric portal was erected by Andres de Rivera. 
The facade has been much injured by modern improve- 
ments. There are several courts with fountains in the 
centre, and the two cloisters, which always form so 
characteristic a feature in buildings dedicated to the 
followers of San Bruno, are of Gothic architecture. The 
hand of time has stamped the beautiful proportions of the 
smaller one with a damp, ruined look ; and the wild fig, 
which grows upon its buttresses, and climbs along the 
decorated parapet, contrasts with the rich colours of the 
stone. From this cloister, a corridor leads into the 
church. The groined roof is painted in blue and silver 
stars ; the carved wood-work of the choir still remains, 
a screen, as is customary, dividing off a portion for the 
lay brethren. The high altar, denuded of its ornaments, 
stands in reproach, as it were, of the desecration that has 
been carried on around ; its design is truly elegant and 
tasteful, in lozenges of black and white marble, with 
a plain black cross in the centre. The altars of the side 
chapels, all of costly marbles, have been torn down and 
broken — some lying about, while others have been sold 
and converted into chimney-pieces. 

Behind the church are various smaller chapels and 
apartments ; likewise the ovens, in which the bread for 
consecration was prepared. The refectory also opens out 
of the inner cloister, — an apartment but little used by the 
Carthusians — the rules of their order only allowing them 
to dine together upon fete days, or when one of the 
fraternity died, when they met to console each other 
on the loss they had sustained. A large cross of rough 
wood is placed against the Avail at one extremity. In the 
large outer cloister are the cells for the monks, which 
I have already noticed, where they had each a habitation 
to themselves, with an aperture in the wall, through 



which their meals were handed to them, as they always 
dined alone, save on the occasions just alluded to. The 
centre of this outer cloister is planted with cypresses, 
and here the monks were buried. Magnificent as it is, 
I prefer the small, low walls of the humble cemetery of 
their brethern at the Cartuja of Miraflores, near Burgos ; 
it seems more befitting those who had foresworn the 
vanities of the world, a meet resting-place for men 
who passed their lives in prayer. And, perhaps, the 
Carthusians of Miraflores had in life acted up more to the 
rules of their order, for they were in reality poor, and 
could not rival, in the splendour of their monastery, 
with their wealthier brethern on the banks of the 

Reflecting on these changes, we were wandering about 
unmolested in the courts, where a few short years before 
the footsteps of a woman spread consternation in the 
minds of the worthy monks, and perilled both their 
present and future welfare. No female is ever allowed 
to enter the precincts of any building dedicated to the 
disciples of San Bruno. In 1418, this rule was, however, 
so far relaxed, as to admit of sovereigns and members 
of reigning families entering them ; but the inmates of 
the Cartuja of Xeres seemed unwilling to admit even 
of these exceptions, for when Queen Christina happened 
to be staying in the town, and announced her intention 
of visiting them, the community were thrown into a state 
of frightful consternation. One of the monks having 
bethought himself of a plan by which the convent might 
be saved from the consequences of the impending 
calamity, communicated his views to the prior, who at 
once adopted his suggestion. 

The Queen arrived, and was escorted over the building, 
but behind her followed two monks, who watched with 
careful anxiety every step she took ; and on every stone, 



or brick, on which the sovereign trod, a large white mark 
was soon impressed. The royal visit concluded, the 
obnoxious bricks were immediately taken up, and thrown 
into the Guadalete ; others were substituted, and peace 
of mind was restored to the community. How little 
they then foresaw that, ere a few years passed away, 
their cloisters would indeed be desecrated, their posses- 
sions confiscated, and they themselves cast forth as exiles 
in the world. We ascended the tower whence there is a 
fine view, the building standing on a projecting terrace, 
overhanging the river, and almost insulated by its 
>erpentine windings ; the extensive gardens sloping down 
to its banks, and beyond the vine-covered hills, and the 
rich plains where Roderick lost his empire and his life. 
Now it is all covered with golden corn and verdant 

After a long day spent in drawing and wandering 
about, without any attendants to mark our footsteps, 
we returned to Xeres to dine at the hospitable house of 
a fellow-countryman, to whose kindness we owed much 
during our stay, and under whose guidance we had been 
to the Cartuja. 

And now our riding preparations were complete ; all 
arrangements had been made with the owner of the 
horses, and our provisions and necessaries for the journey 
being packed, we sallied forth from Xeres, on the road 
to Arcos. A first start is always followed by many 
stoppages, some of the luggage is sure to tumble off the 
horses ; the guides, as yet unused to it, do not distribute 
the weight equally, the great secret of making the horses 
carry- their loads with comfort to themselves ; this and 
that have to be arranged, and re-arranged, but at last 
thi ngs are right, and one gets fairly under weigh. The 
heat was intense, and the dust at first insupportable, for 
we had to keep to a sort of road for some short distance, 



with cactus and aloe hedges jealously guarding the rich 
vineyards on each side with their stiff spear-like leaves 
and sharp prickly points. 

We soon, however, reached the open plain, when the 
road gradually diminished into a mere track-way through 
the dwarf palm and brushwood. Freed from dust, and 
refreshed by a slight breeze, we passed over the two 
leagues that brought us to the Castillo del Moro, an old 
ruined castle on a height, commanding the plain, in which 
stands Xeres and its surrounding vineyards. Here we 
entered upon an undulating country, and passed the great 
Carthusian farms, once so celebrated for their breed of 
horses. Though scarcely a sign of habitation appeared, 
still the land seemed well cultivated, and the vast fields of 
the black-bearded wheat and dwarf pea were varied now 
and then by small grassy knolls, covered with low brush- 
wood and glittering with wild flowers. 

We were gradually approaching the mountains, and at 
last we saw the town of Arcos ; but from the transpa- 
rency of the atmosphere, and the nature of the country, 
interspersed as it is by strange ravines, or rather clefts, 
which oblige one to take all sorts of " detours" to get 
round them, you often see a place ages before you reach 
it, and so, like the mirage which tantalizes the wanderer 
in the desert, Arcos appeared to recede as we advanced. 
We kept ascending, and the keen mountain air warned 
us that we had left the sunny neighbourhood of the low 
country round Xeres. 

At length, a turn in the road disclosed to us the town of 
Arcos, and most picturesque it appeared, crowning the 
heights of a steep and precipitous cliff, at whose base 
flowed the Guadalete. A long line of houses crested the 
rocks, and at the extremity, where the ridge terminated 
abruptly, a lower town might be seen nestling in the 
valley. Nothing could be more striking than the view 



as we wound along, with the town before us standing on 
the giddy heights, the luxuriant vegetation of the plain, 
dotted over with white houses, encircled by their olive- 
groves, the tall peak of the Cristobal beyond, and an 
amphitheatre of mountains closing in the scene, all lighted 
up by a Southern sunset, which sparkled on the water, 
while a rich glow of light lingered on the yellow face of 
the cliff and on the summits of the distant mountains. 

We arrived late, and stopped at a small posada just at 
the entrance of the town. It looked clean, and the rooms 
were all scrupulously whitewashed; but as to accommoda- 
tion, there was nothing save the bare walls. The travellers 
who flocked there, it seems, were not in the habit of 
requiring beds, for our hostess did not possess such luxu- 
ries. We had, however, fortunately come provided with 
letters of introduction to the various places on our road ; 
and one was immediately despatched to the Alcalde, with 
one of those loving, beseeching, flattering notes such as 
Spaniards love to receive, and only those who have been 
long in Spain know how to write. An appeal to a 
Spaniard's kindness and good-nature is rarely made in 
vain, and the worthy Alcalde soon made his appearance, 
offering us everything which belonged to him, and earnestly 
requesting us to take shelter under his roof. This we de- 
clined, for our baggage was all unpacked, and great would 
have been the trouble of changing our quarters ; but we 
accepted with many thanks his offers of sending all that 
we required. In a short time we had beds and bedding, 
and every requisite for all our party, and by a proper 
division of labour we soon arranged everything for our 
evening's accommodation. We were easily satisfied ; our 
rooms opened on a small terrace, where, in the bright star- 
light, we discussed, over our coffee, the pleasures of the 
day and the arrangements for the morrow. 

The situation of Arcos was one very frequently chosen 




for old Moorish towns, its isolated position offering so 
many advantages as a means of defence, before the in- 
vention of gunpowder rendered such natural fortifications 
of no avail. I took an early ramble the following morning 
through the town, and went into many of the churches, 
which were thronged with pious worshippers receiving the 
sacrament ; an air of quiet devotion characterised them 
rarely to be seen in the larger capitals. The facade of the 
principal church is rather a good specimen of the Spanish 
Gothic of the fifteenth century. The town itself, climbing 
as it does up the hill, has narrow and tortuous streets. 
Nothing can be more picturesque than the lower town 
and the manner in which the houses are perched upon 
small projecting ledges of the rocks. The river is fringed 
with oleanders, and a wild, steep path leads up from it 
along the face of the cliff. 

On leaving Arcos, a precipitous and stony path leads 
down to the river, which is forded at some little distance 
above the town. From here it is seen to great advantage ; 
rising on its conical hill, it appears a perfect pyramid of 
snow against a sky of ultramarine. The banks of the 
river, far as the eye could reach, were covered with 
the greenest verdure, while groves of olives, relieved here 
and there by dense tufts of the rose-coloured cistus in its 
brightest bloom, presented a picture of sylvan beauty 
rarely to be surpassed. We soon reached a rocky hill, 
across which our path conducted us ; and as we climbed 
up its parched and worn sides, we regretted the lovely 
valley we were leaving behind. On gaining its summit, 
however, what a scene lay before us ! different, indeed, 
but far more splendid. Grand views of the distant 
mountains bound the prospect, while the country all 
around, in hill and dale, is covered with gigantic forest- 
trees — a sight so unusual in barren, treeless Spain, whose 
arid aspect seems rather to belong to the African than 



the European world. But here we have indeed forest 
timber. Glorious trees, whose branches untouched 
by the hand of man, now rest upon the ground, 
now interlace each other, and again opening out, offer 
vistas of surpassing beauty. And then such dazzling 
sunlight in the open glades, such deep dark shadows 
beneath the trees. The path at one moment crossing a 
sandy soil, at another the luxuriant herbage forming a 
carpet beneath the horses' feet. And amid the forest 
glades wandered herds of gigantic goats, browsing on the 
trees and recklessly pulling at the branches which came 
within their reach. 

Such a mixture too of foliage ; the bright green of some 
of the oaks, contrasting with the dull, unchanging hue of 
the ilex and the cork, whose leaves, not presenting the 
brilliancy and colour of the deciduous trees, make up for 
the defect by retaining their verdant garb the whole year 
round. The strange fantastic shapes of the twisted, 
gnarled trunks of the cork trees ; such varieties of under- 
wood filling up the scene, the bright blossoms of the 
cistus, the white branches of the sweet smelling hawthorn, 
the common dog-roses, and hundreds of little flowers 
peeping among the grass, added to the beauty of the 
scene. For hours we thus rode on ; the ground became 
more hilly, and we caught a distant view of Zahara, the 
town so famed in Moorish story from being the first 
taken by Mulahacen ; this attack forming in reality the 
commencement of the Avar, which ended in the surrender 
of Granada. 

A romantic glen, with a stream flowing along as clear as 
crystal, tempted us to a mid-day halt. Our mantas were 
thrown upon the ground under the shade of a huge ilex, 
and while our horses browsed around, our gipsy party 
were soon engaged in the discussion of cold fowls, a 
matter-of-fact employment in so sweet a spot. The 

r 2 



purling stream which had tempted us to rest on its 
banks was most deceitful, for the strong chalybeate ta>te 
of its waters rendered them unfit for drinking-. We 
rested long, luxuriating in the refreshing shade, and 
listening to the songs of the muleteers as they wound 
through the glen, returning from that busiest scene of all 
in Andalucia — -the fair of Ronda. On they go, some- 
times walking by the side of their horses, at others resting 
on the packs, or perched on the top of their load, now 
sitting sideways, now riding along with their muskets 
hanging at their side, in their gay dress, with their cloaks 
thrown over them, always singing that same mono- 
tonous air, the " Rondena," the words of which are gene- 
rally improvised to suit the occasion, or consist of some 
well-known couplets which seem almost devoid of mean- 
ing ; and so they pass on with the usual greeting — the 
" Vaya Vd. con Dios," which bids you speed upon your 
journey in peace and safety. 

We too proceeded on our way, and stopping to ask for 
water at a cottage to replenish our jars, excited great 
astonishment in the minds of the women, who had ne^ er 
before seen so novel a mode of riding on horseback as 
ours. We went on through the same lovely scenery, the 
views increasing in beauty as we approached the moun- 
tains, open glades surrounded by hills, covered with forest 
timber, and hardly a house to be seen, only here and there 
a cottage, where many a princely mansion might orna- 
ment the land. But the owner of all this vast extent of 
property, is he not proud of it ? does he not love to dwell 
among these glorious scenes ? Far from it, he hardly 
knows what it resembles. It belongs to the Duke of 
Osuna, who has never once set his foot in Andalucia ! 

This immense tract of country formerly lay under the 
dominion of the Dukes of Arcos, the great Ponces de 
Leon, whose title and estates, like those of Infantado, 


2 1 

Benavente, and many others, are now merged in the house 
of Osuna. It is melancholy the manner in which the 
great Spanish nobles spend their time and their fortunes 
exclusively in Madrid ; their once proud palaces in the 
provinces now mere heaps of ruins ; their very existence 
almost forgotten by their owners. They hardly know 
the venerable monuments of antiquity which some of 
these feudal mansions present. Standing in the middle 
of the villages, surrounded by the humbler cottages of 
their dependents, they are fast falling to decay — unknown 
and unheeded. One grandee of Spain, the owner of a 
most interesting ruin of this stamp, on being compli- 
mented on the beauty of his ancient residence, declared he 
was not aware he had anything of the sort ; but he was 
often tormented by his agent for some few hundred 
dollars to keep some old house which belonged to him 
in one of his villages in repair. 

In former days, these great territorial nobles exercised 
an authority which made the throne tremble at the power 
of its vassals ; and the sovereigns of Spain endeavoured 
by every means to diminish the influence which lords of 
such enormous tracts necessarily exercised over their re- 
tainers, and by degrees that power was crushed. The 
nobles themselves were compelled to remain about the 
court; they took up their abode there, and abandoned 
their splendid residences on their own lands, and among 
their own people. "Wars desolated the country ; what re- 
mained was destroyed by the invading armies which 
swept over the Peninsula ; and now the former castles 
of the Alvas and Infantados are mouldering heaps, ruinous 
and deserted, and crumbling into dust. Added to this, 
Spaniards of the present day have a perfect indifference to 
the beauties of nature, or the enjoyment of country life. 
They cannot understand it ; they never have done so ; 
they would be bored to death away from their theatres 



and paseos, and they must alter strangely before it would 
become a thing of Spain. Many causes have contributed 
to this, but naturally their character is not one which 
can derive pleasure from such enjoyments. Study their 
literature, and you will find fewer descriptions of the 
charms of scenery than in that of any other nation ; and 
then the insecurity of the country is always a sufficient 
excuse for not remaining there. But in the meantime, 
the neglected condition of the villages speaks volumes of 
the disadvantages the people labour under from the non- 
residence of their landlords. 

Our second day's ride was now nearly brought to a 
conclusion ; we soon spied the little town of El Bosque 
nestled on the slope of a wooded hill at the entrance of a 
valley, through which a gentle rivulet was murmuring 
along. The posada was even more unpromising than the 
one at Arcos, but it was very characteristic of its class. 
The large folding-doors opening into a huge room, at one 
end of which is the kitchen fire, where, round the joyous 
flame blazing brightly on the hearth, all assemble to dis- 
cuss the events of the day, or listen to the tales of their 
companions. This room serves for every purpose, bed- 
room, sitting-room, and kitchen, all in one ; for here, 
after they have talked enough, and arranged their horses 
for the night, they roll themselves up in their mantas and 
sleep soundly. At one end were two small rooms, sepa- 
rated by a division, which did not reach the ceiling, and 
into these our , party were obliged to fit, the gentlemen on 
one side, the ladies on the other. 

Here again we were most kindly and hospitably treated 
by the Duke of Osuna's agent, to whom we had brought 
letters. He could not entertain us himself as his wife 
was very ill ; but everything we wished for was supplied 
with a generosity which seemed to know no bounds. 
Beds, wine liqueurs, sweetmeats, even to a bottle of 


French perfume, appeared in quick succession, and only 
added .mother to the many proofs of the truly kind 
good-nature of the Spaniards. After our long day's 
ride we were not sorry to retire to our rooms ; but, 
alas ! rest was impossible, we had so many industrious 
companions that sleep was not to be thought of. Our 
neighbours on the other" side of the wall were as lively 
as ourselves, and we made up for the impossibility of 
sleeping by an active conversation, which must have 
effectually disturbed the slumbers of all beyond our 

A good ramble in the fresh morning air soon made us 
forget the troubles of the night. We clambered up the 
sides of the hill to the Calvario, whence the view was 
indeed lovely. Below, lay the winding valley and the 
clustering village ; above, the lofty peaks shrouded in the 
mists, which were gradually clearing, and as they dis- 
persed disclosed the rich foliage which dotted the moun- 
tains to the very summit ; to our right a stream came 
tumbling through the tangled brushwood, over-arched 
again by the wide-spreading forest trees. 

Escorted by a young Spaniard, the son of the Duke's 
agent, we afterwards ascended to a hermitage, at the 
source of this little rivulet. We left our horses at a 
pretty cottage, surrounded by a garden, where roses of 
every hue were blooming in profusion beneath the trel- 
lised vines ; the view from here is charming, extending 
over the vast forest lands we had been traversing, and 
commanding, they assured us, when the air is clear, a 
view of Cadiz and the sea. We proceeded on foot to the 
spring, accompanied by a guard of rustic beauties, who 
had transferred the gayest flowers of their gardens to the 
black tresses of their hair. The water gushes in a spark- 
ling waterfall, through a natural arch in the rock, and 
dashes down the glen in a succession of miniature 



cascades. It was a pretty woodland scene, and spoke 
well for the taste of the venerable anchorite who had 
selected such a spot for seclusion. We drank of the 
fountain, nor was the draught less acceptable to the 
gentlemen of the party from being presented by one 
of the black-eyed houris who were escorting us. 

On our descent, an ominous tale of some robbery and 
murder which had taken place in the neighbourhood the 
night before was related to us in the usual style, and 
we received many a warning to be careful. The gentle- 
men of our party instantly put fresh caps on their pistols, 
with the proud confidence they were quite a match for 
all the bandits of Andalucia. Our friend's son and a 
shabby-looking servant, with his musket dangling at his 
side, apparently all ready for a fight, accompanied us a 
portion of the way from El Bosque to Grazalema. His 
father bade us adieu with many kind offers of further 
assistance in any way we might require, and we said 
farewell to El Bosque, a sweet nook, but rarely visited, 
and well worthy of being included in a tour through these 

Our road ascended through the valley, which gradually 
narrowed to a gorge between lofty and precipitous moun- 
tains. The clouds which capped the rugged peaks around, 
occasionally favoured us with a passing shower, and then 
the sun burst forth again, the varied lights and shadows 
adding to the beauty of the wild landscape. The narrow 
path led us along the side of the declivity. Below us 
was the narrow valley, with its silvery stream winding 
among cottage gardens and vineyards ; above, the jagged 
rocks, peeping occasionally through the clouds. We de- 
scended to the rivulet, and passed Benimohammed, a small 
village about a league and a half from El Bosque. Here 
the valley branches through two openings in the hills. We 
proceeded for a quarter of a mile up a ravine to see the 



source of the stream. It gushes forth in numerous bub- 
bling fountains at the foot of a lofty precipice. Along the 
glen were many picturesque cottages, with vines and other 
creeping plants trained over and about them, and forming 
luxurious bowers ; and all the girls who came out to stare 
at the passing strangers, and wonder what could have 
induced them to stray into their secluded hamlet, had 
their hair gaily decked with ilowers. 

Here our young companion bade us farewell, and re- 
turned to his own village, and we continued our progress. 
We soon began gradually to ascend, but the pleasure of 
our ride was sadly interrupted by the rain, which now 
commenced descending in torrents. We halted under the 
trees, and as we were waiting, an old venerable moun- 
taineer came tottering down the path, " with feeble steps 
and slow," as though each would be his last. He counted 
" live dollars," according to the quaint way they have of 
telling their ages in this country, that is, as there are 
twenty reals in a dollar, he meant to convey to us that he 
could reckon a hundred years. He presented a striking 
contrast to the light step of a sturdy little fellow of nine 
years old, who came to seek for shelter likewise where our 
caravan was stopping. He was on his way over the moun- 
tain to Grazalema, and a merry, talkative little urchin he 

Each step as we mounted higher increased in wildness, 
and the cold, which was making itself most disagreeably 
felt, told us we were attaining a considerable altitude. The 
road winds round the south-eastern side of the Cristobal, 
and the stony path is steep and precipitous, but the vege- 
tation most luxuriant ; the branches of the trees meet over 
head, while the ilex and the olive rise out of the thick 
underwood. The misty clouds at times cleared away, 
and disclosed occasional glimpses of the sea, with the 
wooded ground that lay between us and the blue ocean ; 



rugged cliffs and yawning precipices were laid bare for a 
moment, only to disappear the next in greater obscurity. 
We soon reached the limits of the shrubs and trees, the 
bare stones were only covered with the variegated lichen 
and a few small flowers, inhabitants of this elevated region. 
All looked the very picture of barrenness as we reached 
the culminating point of the road, when, turning to the 
north, we commenced descending upon Grazalema. The 
tall grey peaks rose on every side, but after an hour's 
descent, one gigantic pyramid of rock towered to our 
right, and beneath lay the strangely-situated town of 
Grazalema, perched like an eagle's nest, the houses clus- 
tering along a ridge about half-way up the mountain 

We descended on the town, and anxiously inquired for 
a house in the Calle Arcos, which had been recommended 
to us in preference to the posada, the latter, we were told, 
containing more inhabitants than we should find agreeable. 
Nothing could exceed the sensation created by our arrival ; 
we were decided novelties ; everyone rushed out to see us, 
and by the time we reached the door of the house we were 
seeking, the streets were crowded. We saw a great many 
pretty faces peeping at us in every direction ; ladies on 
horseback in the English fashion had evidently never been 
seen at Grazalema before. After some delay and a great 
deal of conversation, two necessary preliminaries to the 
arranging of anything in Spain, we managed to establish 
ourselves very comfortably. Our hostess had to vacate 
her own apartments, and some of our party were 
honoured with a room where there was a small shrine 
at one end, with an image of the Virgin and a lamp 
burning before it. 

While my companions were preparing for dinner, un- 
packing the alforjas, or saddle-bags, &c, I ensconced 
myself on the balcony, to make a little sketch of the 



street with the rocks soaring above the houses. This 
attracted the attention of the crowd more than ever ; the 
street became impassable, and one little youngster, more 
enterprising than the rest, took advantage of a reja on the 
ground-tioor, by the assistance of which he climbed up to 
the balcony, where I was sitting. Nothing could be 
more amusing than the tone of contemptuous surprise 
with which he exclaimed to the crowd : " Nada parti- 
cular ; todo bianco !" an announcement which was received 
by his friends with evident signs of disappointment. The 
excitement spread even to the upper classes of society 
in Grazalema, and I had an embassy from some young 
Serioritas, who wished to see what I had been doing, 
a request I could not well comply with for the best of 
reasons, that at that early stage there really was nothing 
to be seen. We were considerably surprised at finding 
that a rage for theatricals had found its way to this 
remote corner of the world, and the question whether 
we were going to the play excited very nearly as much 
surprise to us as our appearance had caused to them. 
"We said, " yes," of course, and the manager soon 
arrived in person, and offered us four stalls and four 
entradas for the enormous sum of twelve reals — three 
shillings ! 

The theatre was next the church, and a strange place it 
was : evidently a stable originally ; pit, boxes, gallery were 
all in one ; the orchestra consisted of a flute, a pair of 
cymbals, a drum, and a guitar; the lights, a few oil 
lamps ; the audience, what one might imagine to be 
the elite of Grazalema society. The play proceeded. 
••Maternal Affection" was the subject which was to 
inspire the actors and actresses, and really it was not 
so badly done neither ; the hero went through his part 
admirably, and knew everybody else's as well as his own, 
which saved the prompter trouble. Alas ! I cannot ven- 



ture to describe the play, for some of our party were 
rather tired, and we left at the conclusion of the first act. 
The little we did see was highly flattering to our national 
vanity, for, curiously enough, half the characters were 
English, and their conduct in deeds of generosity, valour, 
and all sorts of good qualities displayed the character of 
John Bull in a most' favourable light. 

The precipitous streets of Grazalema are most pic- 
turesque, with charming fountains here and there, round 
which the women were grouped in their gay-coloured 
petticoats and "mantillas de tiro," as the head-dress of 
the humbler class is called. One of these fountains was 
exceedingly pretty, of a fine white stone tinged with the 
mellow hue of time, the water gushing out of the mouths 
of ever so many quaint looking masks, and the whole sur- 
mounted by a pediment, and a simple stone cross. The 
vines clamber over the roofs of the adjacent houses, which 
again are backed by the odd-shaped rocks, grey, cold and 
barren. A steep descent leads across the bed of a torrent 
towards the cemetery, situated in a most charming posi- 
tion. Shrubs struggle out from among the rocks in everj 
direction, and a few tall cypresses appropriately mark the 
spot. There are niches as usual to receive the bodies, and 
a very neat chapel attached to the cemetery. The view of 
Grazalema from this point is very grand, with its houses 
nestling against the-hill side ; some hanging over the 
precipice to the left ; and the tall gigantic peak, which they 
call El Penon Grande, and round the base of which we 
passed on our arrival, towering behind. 

To the right rises the Cristobal, three thousand three 
hundred feet high ;* but still capped by clouds, from which 

* The Cristobal is the loftiest peak of this range, and has received the name 
of this favourite saint, from being the first high land visible to mariners as they 
approach the shore — a good omen to look upon St. Christopher in any 




it appears to be seldom free ; in fact, from what the 
people say, fine days here must be rather the exception 
than the rule, for it seems to be almost always 
raining. A whole mob of people followed us from the 
town. Their astonishment knew no bounds when my 
drawing-umbrella was unfurled, and no expostulation 
on our part could induce them to return to the 
bosom of their families. They continued to gaze, and 
1 continued drawing, my companions assuring them they 
might as well disperse, there was nothing to see, for we 
were only men and women like themselves. We moved on 
to a more romantic spot, to take a general view of the 
town and precipice, and the scene now became rather 
curious. The people were perched in every direction on 
the rocks, gazing at us from every corner whence they 
could command a view of the strangers. In the most out- 
of-the-way villages of the East, I doubt if travellers were 
ever objects of greater curiosity. It became so annoying 
at last, that we were obliged to send for a " guardia," who 
kept them in some degree of order. Great was our dis- 
appointment at not being able to ascend the Cristobal, but 
the clouds were still heavy on its summit, and it seemed 
almost hopeless waiting for a fine day at Grazalema ; so we 
gave up the attempt, and prepared to continue on our way 
to Ronda. 

The scenery once more became wooded; the gaunt 
forms of the fantastic cork-trees rose around us, some still 
protected by their curious bark, others stripped of their 
profitable covering. All around and about us seemed a 
wilderness of wood and mountain, tall peaks and deep- 
sheltered valleys ; here and there, an old Moorish castle 
crowning some giddy height with a yawning precipice 
beneath ; gorges through which gurgled tiny rivulets, grey, 
towering cliffs rearing their heads in sterile grandeur, the 
intervening declivities covered with vast tracts of the 



gum-cistus, whose large white flowers glittered in the sun, 
while the strong perfume from their branches filled the 

But the aspect of the country changed before reaching 
Ronda. The vegetation gradually ceased; all became 
stony and barren, bare cliffs rose in wild, fantastic 
shapes, and we came at length, as it were, to the edge 
of the chain along which we had been travelling ; a 
sudden and a steep descent led down to the valley 
beneath, and a vast panorama of arid mountains and 
verdant valleys was spread out before us. The wild aspect 
of the whole reminded me forcibly of the hill country of 
Jndea. In the middle of the picture, but hardly dis- 
tinguishable from the grey peaks around, lay the town of 
Ronda ; from this distance giving the traveller no idea of 
its singular position. We walked down the slippery 
descent, and crossing a clear brook, entered upon the 
richly cultivated vale, full of trees, producing fruit of 
every description. 

A weary road, up a stony, sandy hill, offers a very 
unpromising entrance to the town of Ronda ; and the 
horses could hardly keep their footing on the slippery 
pavement of the first street we crossed, which consisted of 
the natural flags left bare and polished. The town was 
white and clean. We crossed the bridge over the Tajo, 
— that wondrous chasm which forms the glory and the 
pride of Ronda — and which bursts so unexpectedly on the 
traveller, as he rides through the town. We established 
ourselves at a very comfortable Casa de Pupilos, kept by 
two or three old ladies, in the Calle San Pedro, the back 
windows of the house overhanging the ravine itself. 

We thus obtained almost our first view of it by moon- 
light, and exquisite it was, as the moon rose high above us, 
lighting up some projecting rock with its silver beams, 
the dark mass of the daring bridge which spans the gorge, 



reposing in shadow on our right, and far, far below, a 
silver thread, dancing in the moonlight, wandering on its 
course amid rocks and trees and houses, the lights in 
the distant windows appearing like glow-worms from that 
towering height. In the distance the softened outlines of 
the rocky pinnacles we had been passing, bounded the 
horizon. All seemed strange and undefined, and in vain 
we sought to obtain a clear idea of the scene on which 
we were gazing. 

r 3 



"WMe they were in this conversation they were overtaken by a gentleman mounted 
on a very fine flea-bitten mare. He had on a riding-coat of fine green cloth faced with 
murry-coloured velvet, a hunter's cap of the same. The furniture of his horse was 
country-like and after the jennet fashion. As he came up with them, he very civilly saluted 
them, and clapping spurs to his mare began to leave them behind him. Thereupon, Don 
Quixote called to him. " Sir," cried he, "if you are not in too much haste wc shall be glad 
of the favour of your company, so far as you travel this road." — Don Quixote. 








Ronda is, indeed, one of those places which stands 

L^ckutsoaJVu 6 Ju}i 



alone. I know of nothing to which it can be compared. 
Some parts of its ravine, near the old bridge, reminded 
me of the chasm through which you enter Petra ; but 
then there can be no comparison between the silent 
city of the Desert and the gorge of Ronda, overflowing 
with life and noisy industry. The river — the Rio Verde, 
so famed in Moorish story — winds through pleasant, 
undulating ground to the north of the town, when it 
suddenly finds, as it were, a lofty mountain thrown 
across its course ; impatient of the obstacle, it has worn 
a way through the cliff, forming a rent, through which it 
pierces ; gigantic fragments of rock impeding its onward 
course, while the sides rise precipitously some three 
hundred feet ; a few straggling prickly pears growing 
near their summits, and many an old and picturesque 
house overhanging them. And on it goes until the gorge 
itself is spanned by a giant bridge, beneath which it 
flows ; here the ground falls some three hundred feet, 
and down goes the stream, dashing, foaming in three 
successive w T aterfalls of surpassing beauty, and over huge 
boulders, which are scattered here and there : on one 
side the lofty cliffs still rise, and on the other a suc- 
cession of little terraces, whereon mills are clustered, 
one below r the other, whose busy labours give life and 
animation to the scene as they catch the water each in 
turn from the bounding river, which at length arrives 
in the valley, and flows on in peace and quietness 
to fertilize the fruitful orchards which clothe its 

Looking down from the bridge, it is grand beyond 
description, and equally beautiful is the view r looking 
up from the lowest mill ; cottage rises above cottage, 
the sparkling streams descending to each, glittering amid 
a mass of vegetation which this abundance of water 
causes to spring forth luxuriantly ; while the main stream 




descends like a silver thread amid this confusion of trees 
and stones. Wild brambles intertwine their branches, 
the light fronds of the water-loving ferns droop over 
the tiny fissures, ivy climbs along the walls, and 
a thousand brilliant flowers, some not naturally 
dwellers in such mountainous districts, tempted by the 
force of the sun against these rocky walls, put forth 
many-coloured blossoms to add fresh beauties to this 
unrivalled spot. And above, appearing from here almost 
like a speck, is seen the bridge, nearly three hundred feet 
in height, joining cliff to cliff, the white houses of the 
miniature town appearing against the azure sky. It is, 
indeed, a wondrous scene, and one of which neither pen 
nor pencil can convey any just idea. The artist may 
here find plenty of occupation, and while away many a 
pleasant day in the Tajo ; every mill is a picture, and the 
whole so extensive, that the eye can scarcely embrace its 
varied beauties. At one place the water is conveyed in 
an " acequia" along the face of the hill, and the only 
means to pass is along its edge with a precipice below ; 
here crowds of women may be seen washing in their 
bright red petticoats, neat white boddice, their heads 
covered with the usual coloured kerchief, and chat- 
tering away as only Spanish washerwomen can chatter. 
Peculiar as the scene is, and beautiful beyond description, 
yet when you have viewed and studied the Tajo, you have 
seen all that Ronda presents. 

The lofty bridge of solid masonry, which connects the 
modern with the old Moorish town, was built in the 
last century, but the older one of San Miguel at the other 
end of the gorge is far more picturesque. A rickety old 
staircase leads down from a house adjoining it to the 
bottom of the cliff; its wooden steps affording rather an 
uncertain footing, while its trembling balustrade threatens 
to give way at the slightest touch. There are many 



picturesque bits in Ronda, small gateways with their 
little chapels over the arch ; shrines where the wayfarer 
might pause, to pray that no harm should befal him on 
his journey ere he leaves the town, or kneel upon his 
arrival to return thanks for the dangers he has escaped. 
There are likewise numerous fountains surmounted with 
their white crosses, round which throng ever-varying 
groups of water-carriers and thirsty animals, eager for the 
refreshing draught. Several Moorish houses still remain, 
their patios all intertwined with vines and roses. One 
Ave went to see could boast of some rather fine ceilings, 
their beams still covered with painted arabesques. Its 
present owner was an amateur artist ; alas for the land of 
Murillo ! his paintings were strange productions, but he 
thought himself a man of taste, and was proud of his 
house, a quality which would cover a multitude of sins, 
so rare is it to see anything of bygone days valued in this 

He had a large collection of Roman copper coins, 
which still pass current for " ochavos," and informed some 
of our party of a Roman altar in the patio of a friend of 
hi-, which they went off to inspect. They found it 
Used for the covering of a well in the patio ; it was hollow, 
allowing the rope to run through. It was formed of 
white marble, of a bell-like shape, the top being turned to 
the earth as the reversed inscription indicated, the words, 
" Martis Altare" being clearly legible. While they w r ere 
studying Roman antiquities, I sketched the little patio, 
surrounded by a group of noisy children. Their attention 
w as diverted from me by the arrival of the parish priest, 
who sat himself down amongst them, and was soon 
overpowered by offers of " dulces," and cakes of every 

The streets of the modern town of Ronda are straight 
and clean, with the peculiarity of the rejas projecting into 

s 2 


the street, with stone bases and small projecting roofs, all 
whitewashed, which, combined with quantities of flowers 
within the rejas, gives a remarkably fresh appearance to 
the town. The Alameda hangs over the cliff as it sweep- 
round the Tajo, and commands a panorama of the distant 
mountains, crowned by the Cristobal, almost unique in 
beauty. The market-place, overhanging the Tajo, above 
the bridge, is scrupulously clean, and filled with the most 
delicious fruit, the orchards near Ronda being famed 
throughout Andalucia for their produce. One remarkable 
old spot is worthy of a visit, the Casa del Rey Moro ; the 
house itself has no traces of antiquity, but you descend 
to the bed of the river by means of stairs cut in the rock, 
and in the descent pass some large ropms, all hollowed 
out of the solid cliff, looking as if they had been intended 
for dungeons. A small doorway opens on the river, but 
the cliffs descend so perpendicularly, that they only allow 
room for the torrent to rush between them, effectually 
stopping all egress in that direction. 

Ronda is famed for being the head-quarters of all the 
smugglers who used formerly to find the neighbourhood 
of Gibraltar convenient ; but they and their trade are both 
diminishing Still the fair of Ronda and the throng of 
people who flock to it are talked of as one of the sights 
of Andalucia, and its bull-fights are far-famed. The 
population seem rather disposed to be quarrelsome, if 
one may judge from the multiplicity of crosses which 
ornament the walls of the houses, recording with the 
usual inscription the tragic fate of some victim to the 
" narvaja." The principal church is said to have been a 
mosque, but there is small appearance of Moorish work 
about it now; it is, however, evidently a patched-up build- 
ing, for on entering, it appears to have two high altars, 
and you hardly know which is the principal one. Of the 
castle there is but little left. Ronda was once the key to 


these mountain fastnesses, whence its inhabitants could 
issue forth to sweep the rich valleys towards Cadiz, and 
retreat again undisturbed to their stronghold. It was 
taken by Ferdinand in 1485, when its governor, the bold 
I burnt el Zegri, was absent; he who afterwards so 
gallantly defended the Gibralfaro at Malaga. He had 
gone to the relief of Coin ; and when he returned, he 
found his eagle's nest was already in the hands of the 

A charming expedition may be made from Ronda to 
the Cueva del Gato, a cavern about two leagues distant. 
We left the town by the same bleak, dreary path by 
which we entered it, descending the valley to the left, and 
skirted the stream for some time with a steep mountain 
on our right. A sharp turn brought us suddenly in front 
of the cavern, from which a river was rushing forth out of 
the very depths of the mountain : the entrance, like a 
lofty porch, is in the face of a perpendicular cliff, and 
unapproachable except by climbing over rather precipitous 
rocks. The stately flower of the acanthus rose in all the 
crevices, its classic leaves falling over the grey stones, and 
the wild vine and fig-tree entwined their branches across 
the entrance. We penetrated about a hundred yards, the 
water bounding along beneath and around us, the footing 
in many places being far from secure. The peasants say 
it continues for the space of a league into the mountain ; 
-talactites hang from the lofty roof, and the whole pre- 
sents a very grand and wild appearance. From the 
furthest point to which we penetrated, I sat down to 
sketch the entrance ; and we were joined by a fine- 
looking peasant, who entered into conversation with us, 
and told us many tales of the way those caves had served 
the people for refuge in times of war. He was a 
manly-looking fellow, and talked with that ease and 
independence, yet almost chivalrous courtesy, which 



characterise these Andalucian peasants. The stream 
which gushes forth from this cavern flows into the one 
whose course we had been following ; united, they receive 
another tributary, and then, as our companion informed 
us, disappear in the earth about a league to the south- 
ward ; but where they issue forth again was more than 
he could tell. 

The day for our departure had arrived ; we bade adieu 
to Ronda, and found ourselves once more on the road. 
The arches of a Moorish aqueduct, now all in ruins, were 
scattered along the side of our path. An uninteresting 
ride lay before us, tame, and flat, and monotonous after 
the superb forest scenery through which we had passed 
between Grazalema and Ronda. But we were enlivened 
by the society of a very Quixotic-looking Spaniard, who 
was travelling in the same direction. He passed us at 
first, but we soon joined forces, and became great friends, 
in that frank and easy manner with which one make- 
acquaintance in such unfrequented places. In the wild 
mountain tract and desert fastness, all soon become 
friends, and even our own countrymen contrive in these 
uncivilized districts to commence conversation without 
the formality of an introduction. Our friend's costume 
was singular, large leather sleeves laced on to a very 
shabby, faded green velvet jacket, crowned, alas ! by a 
wide-awake, instead of a " sombrero calanes," his cloak 
strapped on in front to his saddle, his double-barelled 
gun hanging at the flank of his powerful grey charger, 
and an armed servant following on a mule with his 

He jogged on leisurely by our side, and the bleak and 
barren road was rendered shorter and less tiresome by his 
anecdotes of Ronda and its vicinity. 

We made our mid-day halt in a venta on the road-side, 
where Don Rafael partook of our fare, and seemed 



astonished at the exploits which were performed in the 
eating line by some of the party ; how different to the 
simple gazpacho with which a Spaniard would refresh 
and cool himself during the heat of a summer sun ! That 
cooling repast of which people, avIio think its contents 
must make so uninviting a whole, little know the luxury 
until they have divested themselves of their prejudices, 
and felt how grateful it is when exhausted by the heat of 
a Southern sun. The castle-crowned heights of Teba 
now appeared on a barren hill in the valley before us. 
Our friend parted from us here, never, probably, to meet 
again ; and such is travelling, knowing people, joining in 
some far-away place, becoming friends, and sharing in all 
the varying circumstances that such a novel mode of life 
is sure to offer, and then comes the leave-taking, and you 
separate, to see and hear no more of those with whom you 
have passed many a merry hour. 

The town of Teba was hardly visible, but a mountain 
road led along a gorge ascending to it. The castle was 
often taken and retaken in the Moorish wars, and on one 
remarkable occasion it was the scene of a most enter- 
prising action of Rodrigo Narvaez, the chivalrous governor 
of Antequera. After that place had been conquered, a 
truce was agreed upon for a certain time, when Teba was 
in the hands of the Christians. The day before the truce 
was to commence, the Moors attacked, and took it by 
storm. Narvaez hearing of this the same night, and 
feeling that the enemv had taken advantage of his not 
having it in his power to recover it, the truce commencing 
next day, instantly sallied forth from Antequera with a 
few chosen followers. In the middle of the night he 
arrived before Teba, fell upon the unsuspecting garrison, 
who surrendered immediately, and when the day dawned 
on which the truce was to commence, Teba was once more 
in the hands of the Christians. 



Soon the aspect of the country changed ; again the road 
crossed verdant meadows, and wound through olive- 
crowned hills, and a charming ride in the soft moonlight 
brought us to Campillos, where we found a large and 
clean posada. This is a small village, with a straight, 
wide street, and a large church remarkably well kept. 
The road thence to Antequera was in first-rate order ; but 
the heat was intense, and we were nearly roasted crossing 
those wide, unsheltered plains, covered with waving crops 
of the black-bearded wheat. The celebrated salt lake lay 
in that burning expanse, like a vast sheet of ice, round 
the edges of which the snow lay thick and heavy. This 
lake is a source of great profit, and is nourished by two 
streams highly impregnated with salt, which take their 
rise in the mountains near Antequera. This salt has 
always been highly prized, from its purity and the ease 
with which it is collected, and was much valued by the 
Moors, who trafficked in it largely. 

The ride on was broiling. The bold crag of the Puna 
de los Enamorados formed a conspicuous object in the 
distance, but the projecting hilly ground concealed Ante- 
quera from our view, until we had approached nearly to it. 
The situation is very beautiful ; the town backed by its 
old Moorish castle, and the grey rugged mountain peaks 
behind. We took refuge in the Posada de la Castafia, 
which I would commend to all future travellers, as one 
studiously to be avoided, although I cannot promise that 
the town affords a better. The court-yard presented the 
usual animated appearance, the muleteers arriving and 
departing, while some were taking a siesta on the benches, 
rolled up in their gay-coloured mantas. 

The rooms looked clean as usual, but appearances were 
deceptive, and the slumbers of some of our party were 
considerably disturbed by the appearance of most unwel- 
come companions. Not light, active creatures, which hop 



about, never resting for a moment; but a steady and 
determined array of slow-creeping things, advancing 
gradually and tranquilly. They paid however dearly for 
their temerity, they little knew the spirit they had 
aroused ; they were more persecuted than persecuting, at 
least, if the reports of individual prowess could be relied 
on, for a fair member of our party in the morning 
announced that eighty head, to her own score, had 
perished in the conflict. 

The eating was worse, if possible, than the sleeping 
accommodation. Oil and garlic seemed to be the staple 
products of Antequera, and garnished the dishes to an 
extent rare even in this land, rendering still more 
unpalatable the tough, fibrous chickens. The despair of 
some of the party reached the highest pitch, when it 
was discovered that not even a drop of drinkable wine 
could be procured. Generally speaking, good wine is 
difficult to be obtained in the interior ; as the consumption 
is small, but little care is bestowed on the manufacture of 
it, while the absence of all demand for the better quali- 
ties, and the difficulties of transport, render it almost 
impossible to procure the produce of Malaga or Xeres at 
any price. 

Antequera, though evidently not offering much attrac- 
tion to the lover of good fare, and not likely to tempt the 
traveller to a long residence from the comfort of its inns, 
is a most interesting town, both to the antiquarian and 
lover of the picturesque. The vega too was the scene of 
many a gallant rencontre between Moor and Christian, 
and some of the most romantic adventures of those days 
occurred under the shadow of the Lovers' Rock, the bold 
and lofty Peha de los Enamorados. The town is clustered 
round the hill, on which stands the dilapidated castle. 
A steep ascent leads up to an old arch — the Arco de los 
Gigantes — which admits you within the enclosure guarded 



by the now ruined walls. This arch has a venerable 
appearance, which might induce one at a first and hasty 
glance to consider it some relic of Roman days, covered 
as it is with Latin inscriptions of great antiquity ; but it 
only dates from 1585, when it was erected by the Ayun- 
tamiento, who wisely turned it to account as a means of 
preserving some of the vast number of Roman inscriptions 
discovered in the neighbourhood. It would be well, if 
some of the corporations in Spain in these days, would 
take the same laudable interest in preserving the precious 
monuments existing in their towns. 

The view, looking through this arch down upon the 
town, is lovely ; it makes such a pretty frame,* enclosing 
the quaint red tower of the Collegiate Church, which 
formed the principal object in the picture. Above are the 
ruined walls of the old Moorish fortress, with its tower 
now converted into a belfry. But little of it remains ; the 
view, however, well repays the ascent. The town in front, 
with the luxuriant vega beyond ; rising in the centre the 
fine crag, which strikes the eye from every point in this 
neighbourhood ; the lofty mountains so close behind, 
their jagged peaks of cold, grey stone, and the wild and 
barren ravines which intersect them ; the mountain torrent 
dashing over its stony bed, the tall masses of many 
ruined convents, and the salt lake glittering in the 

Antequera, like many other Spanish towns, claims 
Tubal as its founder, although one of its historians has 
the candour to admit that it is difficult to authenticate the 
fact of his ever having actually resided there. But the 
curious remnants of an earlier people, who preceded the 
Romans, may be seen in a chambered mound, which forms 
so peculiar a feature of interest to the antiquarian ; while 

* See Title-page. 


the enormous number of Latin inscriptions prove it to 
have been a city of some importance in the days of the 
Romans. There seem to have been several towns con- 
gregated in this neighbourhood : at a " cortijo" in the 
neighbourhood, inscriptions of the Roman Singilia have 
been discovered, besides a great number of sepulchres ; 
and in the course of cultivating the land, labourers are 
continually meeting with some trace of Roman anti- 

Antequera has been the scene of stories told in many an 
ancient ballad ; and who can help feeling an interest in 
recalling all those tales of chivalrous courtesy and knightly 
honour, in which Moor and Christian sought to rival and 
outvie each other ? All who have read of these will recol- 
lect the generous conduct of Rodrigo Narvaez, when he 
took a Moorish chieftain prisoner ; how, when he heard 
the tale of his sorrows, and that he was on his way to carry 
off a noble lady of Coin, whose affections he had gained, 
he allowed him to proceed upon his way, and claim his 
bride, upon the condition that he should return, and yield 
himself once more a prisoner : and he did return, accom- 
panied by his fair Jarifa. Touched by this honourable 
conduct of the Moor, Narvaez gave him his liberty, and 
even commended him to the especial care of the King of 
Granada, imploring forgiveness for the lovers. And then 
the story of Don Tello, he who went forth before the siege 
commenced, to challenge to single combat some Moslem 
warrior ; but none would venture to the encounter until 
Arabella, the bold .Alcalde of Ronda, who happened to be 
within the fortress, took up the challenge, and left the 
town to fight the Christian. The Moor was defeated; 
and Don Tello, when he saw T his adversary severely 
wounded and at his mercy, instead of killing him, took 
out bandages and ointments to cure him of his wounds. 
At the sight of their comrade's defeat, his friends sallied 



forth to avenge it ; but when Arabella told them how the 
Christian was his friend, and how, having met him in 
single combat, he had been vanquished and made his 
prisoner, he implored them to treat him as so gallant an 
enemy deserved, and escort him into the town ; where Don 
Tello remained, honoured by his enemies, until such time 
as the wounds of the Alcalde of Ronda were cured. Such 
are the incidents immortalized in the ballad poetry of 
Spain, full of such strange courtesy, of such chivalrous 
traits, which show how even the barbarity of those deadly 
wars was tempered by conduct which would do honour 
to the highest civilization. 

On the Castle hill is the old church of Santa Maria, 
one of the first parishes established on the taking of the 
town ; it was considerably enlarged and embellished about 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, when it was made 
into a Collegiate Church ; it has a most beautiful " arte- 
sonado " ceiling. Of the Church of San Salvador no 
vestige now remains ; this was the original mosque conse- 
crated by the Archbishop of Santiago in the presence of 
the Infante Fernando, and here the first Te Deum was 
sung in gratitude for the triumph which the Christian 
arms had obtained. Injured by the French, it was allowed 
to fall to ruin, like everything else — the same story always. 
Antequera is full of deserted convents, gradually falling to 
decay. In proportion to the number of these establish- 
ments formerly existing, is the air of desolation which now 
pervades Spanish towns. There are plenty of nunneries 
still standing, their latticed windows giving a gloomy 
appearance to the streets where they rear their prison-like 

Even the convent of Our Lady de los Remedios is 
rapidly decaying. This boasts of being one of the finest 
churches in the town. It was erected in honour of an 
image which appeared to the good people of Antequera, 



to make amends for the loss of stolen goods, in this wise. 
A devout father, who had founded a convent in the neigh- 
bourhood of the city in 1519, was anxiously seeking for 
an image of the Virgin, to whom he had dedicated his 
retreat, when a neighbouring shepherd supplied him with 
one of considerable beauty, which he kept carefully trea- 
sured within his house. But the shepherd concealed the 
fact that he had stolen it from a hermitage at Villaviciosa, 
in the mountains near Cordoba : a wily theft ; for, having 
heard that it had been originally carried away from a 
village in Portugal by another shepherd, who had bene- 
fitted greatly in his worldly affairs so long as the image 
remained in his possession, he wisely argued, a second 
edition of such a theft might benefit him likewise. Moved, 
however, by the bribes and entreaties of the good Father 
Martin, he made it over to him, and it proved the joy and 
delight of the worthy friar's heart for two years, until, on 
one unlucky day, a Cordobese happened to stray into his 
church, and recognised the image whose disappearance 
had caused so much woe in Villaviciosa. Proofs of its 
identity were produced; it was given up, and restored 
to its rightful owners. Great was the sorrow of the holy 
father ; but his grief was of short duration, for one fine 
morning a loud knocking was heard at the convent door, 
and on opening it, a knight appeared, clothed in white, 
upon a fiery charger, clasping an image to his heart, which 
he delivered into the hands of the enraptured friar, saying : 
" Behold your remedy, and that of Antequera." The 
present was received with gratitude, but the knight im- 
mediately vanished ; and it was forthwith concluded that 
Santiago himself must have been the donor of so celestial 
a gift. The image was placed upon the altar, and some 
years afterwards removed to the convent, where it still 
excites the admiration of the pious under the name of 
N ra Senora de los Remedios. 



Our curiosity had been excited by the description we 
had heard of what was called a Druidic temple, a cham- 
bered mound, which existed somewhere in the neighbour- 
hood, and which, from the account given of it, would 
seem to resemble in its construction the same mysterious 
remains of antiquity so common in our own island. But, 
alas ! there were not any guides in Antequera to lead the 
traveller at once to the object of his search ; and as we 
had forgotten the name by which the cave was generally 
known, we had a pleasant prospect of leaving the town 
without attaining the principal object of our visit. We 
made no end of inquiries ; we were told of numerous 
caves, but they were not fashioned by the hand of man, 
and did not suit our purpose. We might as well have 
sought the wondrous cave of the Albarizas, that subter- 
ranean gallery which, leading from the Castle to the 
Vega, enabled the Moslems, during the siege of Ante- 
quera, to hold communication with their brethren of 
Granada, their messengers being thus enabled to emerge 
into the Vega beyond the Christian camp : 

" De Antequera sale el Moro, 
Por la cueva de las Albarizas." 

But Moorish antiquities were things of yesterday, com- 
pared to what we were seeking. We wished to penetrate 
still further into the lapse of ages. At length, a civil note 
was written to the Alcalde — a true Spanish production, 
telling him how we had come to visit this land of Maria 
Santissima, how at every step we had become more and 
more lost in admiration of its beauties, and the charms of 
its inhabitants, until we had reached the culminating 
point of our enchantment in " la muy noble ciudad de 
Antequera ;" and now we were anxiously seeking a monu- 
ment which proved that Antequera was older than any 
other city of the known world ; and we told him how 



some of our party, who were deep in such ancient lore, 
had come from the shores of a distant island to study her 

How could such a note fail to provoke an answer ? 
Spanish pride had been flattered, and Spanish kindness 
and civility are ever ready to return thanks for the 
homage paid them. The Alcalde called ; the cave and 
evei^tbing else was at our disposal— only, he did not know 
anything about it, or where to find it. He knew a pamphlet 
bad been written on the subject; he would send it to us, 
and send us a guide who would probably know something 
about it. Nothing could exceed his courtesy ; but his 
visit did not leave us much the wiser. Our guide 
arrived ; the grand mystery was solved, and after all our 
inquiries we were on our way to the " Cueva del Mengal," 
the name by which it is known among the people. 

This singular monument is, I believe, the only one of 
its kind as yet discovered in the Peninsula. Its striking 
similarity in dimensions and design to those covered 
mounds which exist in Ireland, and which of late years 
have attracted so much attention, together with the fact 
that no mention of it has hitherto been made in any 
English work — at least, as far as I am aware — induces 
me to give here a detailed description of its size and 
proportions, and which I am enabled to do from accurate 
measurements made on the spot by one of the gentlemen 
of our party. 

Although its existence would seem to have been known 
from time immemorial to the people in this neighbour- 
hood, by the name of the Cave of Mengal, yet no refer- 
ence or allusion to it is found in any Spanish book upon 
the topography or antiquities of the country, until a small 
pamphlet was published upon the subject, in the year 
1847, by a Senor Mitjana of Malaga. In this little tract 
the author begins by giving a brief history of the primi- 



tive inhabitants of the country. According to him, and 
the authorities he cites, the Celtiberians, or Celts, after 
crossing the Pyrenees, occupied Navarre, Aragon, Galicia, 
Portugal, Old and New Castile, La Mancha, Estramadura, 
the greater part of Andalucia, and the Serrania of Ronda, 
from Gibraltar to Antequera. Here they bordered on 
another tribe, called the Turduli, who stretched over the 
districts of Antequera, Archidona, Granada, Cordoba, and 
Jaen, and by them the city of Antequera was founded two 
thousand years before the Christian era. The former 
were devoted to pastoral pursuits ; they gloried in war ; 
they formed the nerve and sinew of the nation ; by them, 
long subsequently, was the victory of Cannae decided ; 
and Scipio more than once defeated. 

The Turduli were versed in agriculture and the first 
rudiments of the arts ; they dwelt in houses built of 
kneaded clay, and thatched with straw and reeds, for he 
states, on the authority of Pliny, that the ancient 
Spaniards knew nothing of working with stone and 
mortar, until taught it by the Carthaginians. They had 
letters, too, and a literature of their own, and so also had 
the Celts ; and he says that Strabo states that they had 
very ancient books and poems, and laws written in verse, 
handed down from the remotest antiquity. They wor- 
shipped the moon and sacred stones, and various other 
idols, and erected for their worship temples of huge 
rough stones placed on end without cement, sometimes 
covered in, and often in large open circles. He finishes 
his introduction by giving an account of the religion of 
the Druids, according to the opinions generally received, 
and so common in other countries, but the relation of 
which would seem to have, in Spain, all the charm of 
novelty. He then proceeds to say, that in the month of 
April 1842, his attention having been drawn to this place, 
he was at once struck by its appearance ; although it 


was then choked up with clay and rubbish, he was able 
in the course of numerous visits to ascertain its real 
character, and at last succeeded, though with difficulty, 
in convincing the owner of the soil, and the neigh- 
bouring peasants, that it was not " the work of chance," 
and so got their assistance in clearing out the place, 
and disclosing to the world what he designates a Druidic 

However superficial and inaccurate Signor Mitjana's 
views and conclusions, in some respects, may be (though 
I do not venture to give any opinion on the subject), still 
very much is due to that gentleman for what he has done ; 
and for having been the first of his countrymen to draw 
attention to this most curious relic of far-distant ages. 
Whether it w r as erected for a temple or a tumulus, or for 
both, I leave to the learned to decide, and shall content 
myself with describing the place itself, as we found it on 
the 3rd of June, 1852. 

About a quarter of a mile to the eastward of the town, 
on the road to Archidona, are three small conical hills, 
from sixty to eighty feet in height, remarkable for the 
regularity of their outline, and covered with olive-trees. 
On ascending the one nearest the town, and close to its 
summit, you find yourself opposite to the entrance of the 
cave. It presents a perfect porch, symmetrical in shape, 
but composed of rough stones of gigantic magnitude. This 
porch is an oblong square, seventeen feet in depth, nine 
wide, and eight high. Its roof is composed of a single 
stone, nearly fifteen feet square, and over four feet high, 
and calculated by Signor Mitjana (who w as an architect) 
to weigh four thousand six hundred and eight arrobas, or 
above fifty-one tons of our measurement. This roof is 
supported by six stones — three on each side, standing 
on end, sunk from three to four feet in the earth, and 
having an average breadth of four and a half feet. At 




the end of the porch, two jutting stones approach within 
seven feet of each other ; and here an inner chamber lies 
before you, but of a different form. It is oval, and of 
considerably larger dimensions, being fifty-four feet in 
length. Its sides, also composed of upright stones, seven 
upon each side, gradually expand from the entrance to 
a width of seventeen feet in the centre, and then 
gradually narrow again to a width of twelve feet, where 
one huge stone blocks up the extremity, and gives it the 
form of an oval, flattened at the ends. 

The roof of this inner chamber, which is ten feet from 
the floor, is composed of only four stones, stretching from 
side to side, and each of larger dimensions than that 
which covers the porch. The one farthest from the 
entrance is the largest, being a square of twenty-three 
feet, and four feet thick, and estimated to weigh the 
enormous amount of one hundred and twenty tons — the 
five stones, forming the entire roof, amounting to above 
three hundred and seventy-five tons in all. In addition to 
the sides and the single stone at the extremity, the roof 
of the inner chamber is supported also by three pillar- 
stones, standing along the centre ; and which, as they are 
not quite perpendicular, would seem to have been subse- 
quently introduced as additional supports to the roof. They 
are placed in such a manner under the points of junction 
of the stones above, so that each contributes support to 
two of them. These pillar- stones are rude and rough on 
their surface, of an irregular, quadrilateral shape, and not 
of equal dimensions ; the one nearest the entrance being 
only eight feet in circumference, while the innermost 
measures fourteen feet. In the roof of the inner chamber 
the second stone from the entrance appears to have been 
cracked in two, or else, perhaps, from inability to procure 
all of such gigantic dimensions, the builders fitted two 
smaller ones to serve their purpose. The accompanying 

CASTftiE iND W'lUTATTA. '27,") 

sketch represents the cave as viewed from the inner 


All these stones on the outside, wherever they are 
visible, are misshaped and irregular ; but, on the inside, 
they are fiat and even, without being smooth. They do 
not appear to have been punched or chiselled in any way r , 
but present that rough, yet flat surface, which can 
frequently be seen in stones in their natural state. There 
are no traces upon them of chisel marks, nor any lines 
whatever ; nor are there around the base of the hill, as is 
generally the case in Ireland, any remains of a stone 
circle. The structure is just under the surface of the 
summit, the conical shape of which is still preserved. 

In length the cave measures seventy-one feet, and 
lies due east and west : the entrance faces eastward, and 
looks towards the other two similar hills ; and beyond 
them again, at almost the distance of a league, rises 

t 2 



abruptly from the plain the Peiia de los Enamorados, 
which, from here, presents its most picturesque 
appearance. Signor Mitjana, in searching for bones, 
weapons, or other remains, and perhaps for other 
chambers deeper in the hill, caused a shaft to be sunk in 
the interior, between the third pillar and the extremity, 
but discovered nothing ; and, to give light to his workmen, 
broke out at the end a large hole, four or five feet square, 
which considerably impairs the effect and uniformity of 
the place. Fortunately, however, it does admit the light, 
or else a visit to the cave might be attended with 
dangerous results, for as the shaft is still open, five feet 
wide and forty-three feet deep, and the earth loose and 
sloping at the mouth, an unwary visitor could hardly 
escape being precipitated into it. 

It is generally believed that the adjoining mounds con- 
tain monuments of a similar description, and it is highly 
probable that such is the case ; but as yet no one has had 
enterprise enough to undertake such a research. These 
hills are not entirely artificial, like those on the banks of 
the Boyne ; but for the most part consist of dark sand- 
stone in its natural condition, and which probably was cut 
and pared away till it assumed the shape required. 
Among the many other points of resemblance, however, 
it is ascertained, that all these enormous stones were 
brought from a distance, none of the kind being found in 
the immediate locality, and the remains of a quarry of the 
same kind still existing about half a mile off, on the hill of 
the Calvario. How were these stupendous masses quarried, 
and moved, and lifted, and arranged with order and pre- 
cision four thousand years ago ? Who were those 
people ? For what did they rear this singular structure ? 
Strange remnant of the past! Alone in this mountain 
land, speaking of generations of men of might and skill, 
who lived and passed away before the legions of Carthage 



or of Rome wore heard of in the world. Enveloped in 
the haze of antiquity, its uses still undecided and unascer- 
tained, baffling the most patient research — an object from 
age to age for learning to theorize on! But there it 
stands, in its rude but Titanic workmanship, surviving all 
the splendid triumphs of architecture : the stupendous 
edifices of Rome, the fairy tracery of Moorish halls, the 
temples of Christian art have crumbled into ruin, the 
ploughshare has passed over their foundations, or the 
wild vine twines around their mouldering walls, but 
the Druids' cave still stands, as doubtless it stood, a 
thousand years before Rome was founded.* 

* As I have already remarked, the similarity between this monument and 
those existing in Ireland, is too striking not to invest them with a peculiar and 
mutual interest. On this account, it appeared to me, that it might not be 
unacceptable to the reader, who may have never seen or read anything of those 
I referred to, to give some description of them, and show in what the resem- 
blance consists. This can best be done by giving a few extracts from an 
interesting book, which was published not long since, on the picturesque 
scenery of the Boyne.(a) 

Dr. \Tilde devotes the eighth chapter of his book to a description of those 
mounds on the banks of the Boyne, which have as yet been explored, and also to 
tracing, from the records of the country, their true history, and the uses for 
which they were constructed. From this chapter I select the following : 

" About a mile and a half below Slane, and extending along the northern 
bank of the river, we meet the great Irish cemetery to which we have just 
alluded. This consists chiefly of a number of sepulchral mounds, or barrows, 
varying in magnitude, and occupying a space of about a mile in breadth, north- 
ward of the river's banks, and stretching from Knowth to the confines of 
Netterville demesne, over a distance of nearly three miles. In this space we 
find no less than seventeen sepulcliral barrows, some of these — the smaller 
ones — situated in the green pasture lands, which form the immediate valley of 
the Boyne, while the three of greatest magnitude are placed on the summit of 
the ridge which bounds tliis valley upon the left bank, and a few others are 

(a) "The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwatcr," by William R. Wilde. 
Dublin : Orr and Co., London. 




But we must say farewell to Autequera ; and leaving it 
by the Cueva del Mengal, which lies on the road to 

to be found at Monck-Newtown, beyond the brow of the hill towards Louth, 
making upwards of twenty in all. 

"The three great mounds of Knowth, New Grange, and Dowth, principally 
demand attention, not only on account of their magnitude, but because one of 
them has remained open for some years, and a third has been lately examined. 
Each of these is situated within view of the other, and at about a mile distant, 
and consists at first sight of a great natural hill, rising abruptly from the sur- 
rounding surface ; and this idea is rather strengthened by the circumstance of 
one of these having become covered with wood, and another having, until 
lately, borne on its summit a modern stone building. An eye practised to the 
forms of ancient structures at once recognises these vast pyramids as the work of 
man, and a closer inspection soon sets the point at rest. To follow in detail 
these magnificent pagan monuments — for such they are — as they present them- 
selves in our course down the liver, we first meet with Knowth, an abrupt, 
hemispherical mound, with rather a flattened top, rising out of the sloping hill 
of the townland, from which it takes its name. Some enormous masses of 
stone, arranged in a circular manner round its base, tell us, however, that it is 
evidently the work of design ; and some excavations made into one of its sides 
show that it consists of an enormous cairn of small stones, covered with rich 
greensward, occupying in extent of surface about an acre, and rising to a 
height of nearly eighty feet. As far as we can judge by external appearances, 
although history is against us, it appears to be as yet uniuw.-tigutcd ; but as 
there are no means of access to its interior, we can only speculate as to its use, 
and the mode of its construction, from an examination of similar structures in 
this vicinity. 

" We therefore pass on to the next monument, that of New Grange. Like 
that just described, it consists of an enormous cairn or hill of small stones, 
calculated at one hundred and eighty thousand tons weight, occupying the 
summit of one of the natural undulating slopes, which enclose the vallej i>I tin 
Boync upon the north. It is said to cover nearly two acres, and is four hun- 
dred paces in circumference, and now about eighty feet higher than the adjoin- 
ing natural surface. A few yards from the outer circle of the mound, there 
appears to have stood originally a circle of enormous detached blocks of stone, 
placed at intervals of about ten yards from each other. Ten of these still exist 
on the south-eastern side. Such is the present appearance of this stupendous 
relic of ancient pagan times, probably one of- the oldest Celtic monuments in 
the world, which has elicited the wonder, and called forth the admiration of all 
who have \isited it, and has engaged the attention of nearly every distinguished 


Archidona, take a fareweD glance at its fortress-covered 
heights and rugged mountains, and pass on to rest for 

antiquary, not ouly of the British Isles, but of Europe generally ; which though 
little known to our countrymen, notwithstanding that it is within two hours' 
drive of Dublin, has attracted thither pilgrims from every land. It is said that 
a large pillar-stone, or stele, originally stood upon its summit. Before we 
speculate upon the date or origiu, or offer any conjectures as to the uses of this 
vast cairn, we shall conduct our readers into the interior, and point out the 
objects within most worthy of attention. This mound is hollow ; it contains a 
large chamber, formed by stones of enormous magnitude, and is accessible 
through a narrow passage, also formed of stones of great size, placed together 
without mortar or cement ; and considering the bulk and positions they occupy, 
exciting our astonishment how such Cyclopean masonry could have been 
erected by a people who were, in all probability, unacquainted with those 
mechanical powers so necessary in the erection of modern buildings. More- 
over, although some of the stones, both within and without this tumulus, bear 
marks of being water-worn, and were probably lifted from the bed of the 
Borne, others belong to a class of rock not found in the neighbourhood at all ; 
some are basaltic, and others must have been transported here from the Mourne 

" When we first visited New Grange, some twelve years ago, the entrance 
was greatly obscured by brambles, and a heap of loose stones which had 
ravelled out from the adjoining mound. This entrance, which is nearly square 
and formed of large flags, the continuation of the stone passage already alluded 
to, is now at a considerable distance from the outer circle of the mound, and 
consequently the passage is at present much shorter than it was originally, if, 
indeed, it ever extended so far as the outer circle. A few years ago a gentle- 
man, then residing in the neighbourhood, cleared away the stones and rubbish 
which obscured the mouth of the cave, and brought to light a very remarkably 
caned stone, which now slopes outwards from the entrance. Tins stone, so 
beautifully carved in spirals and volutes, is slightly convex, from above down- 
wards ; it measures ten feet in length, and is about eighteen inches thick. 
^ hat its original use was — where its original position in tins mound — whether 
its carvings exhibit the same handiwork and design as those sculptured stones 
in the interior, and whether tlus beautiful slab did not belong to some other 
building of anterior date — are questions worthy of consideration, but which we 
have not space to discuss. 

" Wc now c ider the passage which faces the Boyne ; it runs very nearly 
north and south, and measures sixty-three feet iu length ; it is formed of 
twenty-one upright stones upon the right side, and twenty-two on the left, and 



awhile under the Lovers' Rock, by the side of the Guadal- 
horce, which rushes impetuously along its base. Although 

is roofed with flags of immense length, resting in some points upon the upright 
side-stones, but in other places chiefly supported by masonry external to them ; 
one of these is seventeen feet long and six broad. The general height of the pas- 
sage, for about three-fourths of its length, is about six feet ; but from the accu- 
mulation of earth towards the entrance, it is scarcely so much at present. It then 
rises suddenly, and again, within seventeen feet of the chamber, it rises so as to 
slope gradually into its roof; and the stones of which this portion is composed 
are of gigantic size, many of them eight and ten feet high. Its average 
breadth is about three feet ; but some of the side-stones having fallen inwards, 
so as almost to touch, one requires to creep on all-fours to pass this point. 
Most of these side-stones are remarkably smooth, even on parts where the 
rubbing of a century and a half could not have produced tliis polish, and 
appear to have been long exposed to the action of water or the atmosphere. 
Some have smooth transverse indentations; and very many of the stones 
throughout this building, as well as others used for like purposes in the neigh- 
bourhood, have small sockets or mortices cut near, or in their edges, which 
appear to have been made for the insertion of wedges, either to split the stone, 
or to lift it. 

" The passage leads to a large dome-roofed chamber. As all is perfect dark- 
ness within this cavern, it is necessary to illuminate it in order to form any 
just idea of its figure or extent. When about half lighted up, and we begin to 
perceive the size and character of this great hive-shaped dome, and its sur- 
rounding crypts, formed of stones of such immense size, half revealed to us by 
the uncertain light of our tapers, an air of mystery steals over the senses — a 
religious awe pervades the place ; and while we do not put any faith in the 
wild fancies of those antiquarians of the last century, who made the world 
believe that this was a great Druid temple, an Antrum Mythra;, in which the 
sacred rites of paganism, with 'its human sacrifices, were enacted, we wonder 
less at the flight which their imaginations have taken. This cavern is nearly 
circular, with three offsets, or recesses, from it — one opposite the entrance to the 
north, and one on each side, east and west, so that the ground plan, including 
the passage, accurately represents the figure of a cross. The right or eastern 
recess is eight feet deep, nine high, and seven broad ; it is slightly narrowed at 
the entrance. 

"The basement of the great chamber, to about the height of ten feet, is 
formed of a circle of eleven upright stones, partially sunk in the ground, placed 
on edge, with their flat surfaces facing inwards, and forming the sides of the 
cavern. Prom this course springs the dome, formed by stones somewhat less 



there are no tales of the supernatural connected with this 
remarkable peak, it has its story attached to it ; a story, 

in size, placed horizontally on the flat, with the edges presented towards the 
interior ; and by each layer projecting slightly within that placed beneath, they 
thus, by decreasing the circle, form a dome without an arch, and the whole is 
closed at top by one large slab : the stability of the mass is preserved by the 
pressure of the surrounding material. 

" This form of roofing, which evidently preceded a knowledge of the 
principles of the arch, is to be found in many of our early buildings — generally 
pagan, and chiefly sepulchral, in this country — in the interiors of some of the 
inns or raths, and in very early Christian oratories ; and not only in Ireland, 
but in Egypt, Greece, and Asia Minor, in one of the pyramids of Sackara, as 
well as in the remains of a temple at Tehnessus. Pococke had observed a 
similar structure in the Pyramid of Dashour, called by the Arab name of 
Elkebere-el-Barieh ; and all the visitors to the Cyclopean-walled Mycenae are 
well acquainted with the appearance of the great cavern, known by tradition as 
the tomb of Agamemnon, and believed by some antiquaries to have been the 
treasury of Atreus, between winch and New Grange comparisons have often 
been made ; their resemblance, however, consists in the princijile on which the 
dome is constructed. That remnant of the early Hellenic people was formed 
by an excavation scooped out of the side of a natural hill ; the gallery which 
leads to it does not appear ever to have been covered in ; the sides of the dome 
spring directly from the foundation, like that at Clady, and not from a row or 
circle of upright pillars. The interior is perfectly smooth, and was originally 
covered over with plates of brass : some of the nails which fasten them even 
yet remain ; but these latter circumstances merely show a greater perfection 
in art among the early Greeks — the architectural principle is perhaps the 
same in both. The ground plan of the great Boyne monument also finds 
its analogue in the Orient ; at Tyre and at Alexandria we find tombs 
carved out of the solid rock, of precisely the same cruciform shape, having 
three minor excavations projecting from the several chambers. But while 
we thus allow ourselves to draw upon our recollection of other lands, we 
fear, our readers, and the visitors of New Grange, for whose use in 
particular we write, may require some further information as to the measure- 
ments, construction, and hieroglyphics of this remarkable monument. The top 
of the dome is nineteen feet six inches from the floor, which is now covered 
with loose stones and rubbish. From the entrance, to the wall of the chamber 
opposite, measures eighteen feet ; and between the extremities of the right and 
left crypts twenty-two feet. Each of the side chambers is nearly square, their 
sides being formed of large oblong blocks of stone ; but they arc not all of the 



of course, of unheard-of devotion of a Christian captive for 
a Moorish damsel, ending in the death of both the hero 

same size ; that on the right of the entrance, the eastern, is very much larger 
than either of the others, and is also the most enriched with those rude carvings, 
volutes, lozenges, zig-zags, and spiral lines, cut into the stones, and in some 
instances standing out in relief, to which we alluded in describing the 

" Having conducted our readers thus far over the details, we tliink they are 
anxious to know what is our opinion as to the purpose for which New Grange 
was constructed. We believe, with most modern investigators into such sub- 
jects, that it was a tomb, or great sepulchral pyramid, similar, in every respect, 
to those now standing by the banks of the Nile, from Dashour to Gaza ; each 
consisting of a great central chamber, containing one or more sarcophagi, 
entered by a long stone-covered passage. The external aperture was concealed, 
and the whole covered with a great mound of stones or earth in a conical form. 
The early Egyptians, and the Mexicans also, possessing greater art and better 
tools than the primitive Irish, carved, smoothed, and cemented their great 
pyramids ; but the type and purpose in all is the same. From a careful examina- 
tion of the authorities which refer to the accidental opening of New Grange at 
the end of the seventeenth century, we feel convinced that this monument had 
been examined long prior to that date; and therefore we derive little informa- 
tion from modern waitings as to what its original condition was. That the 
Danes were well aware that these tumuli contained caverns, and probably 
knowing that gold and treasure was to be found within them, rifled several 
of those ancient sepulchres, we have undoubted authority. How far anterior 
to the Christian era their date should be placed, would be a matter of specu- 
lation ; it may be of an age coeval, or even anterior, to their bretliren on the 

" Were we to strip the chamber and passage of New Grange of the sur- 
rounding mound, to remove the domed portion of the cave, and to replace the 
outer circle, at those parts where it is deficient, we should have presented to us 
a monument not unlike Stonehenge. 

" Not only in the surrounding plain, but even on the lull of New Grange 
itself, do we meet small sepulchral caves aud mounds. The whole is one 
vast cemetery. On the western side of the natural hill sloping from this 
mound, we some years ago were present at the opening of a small " kistracn," 
reached by a narrow stone passage — a sort of miniature New Grange ; in it 
were a quantity of human bones, and those of some other animals ; some 
burned, and some not bearing any marks of fire; but the mosl remarkable 
circumstance about it was, that the bottom of tins little chamber was lined 


2 ( s:? 

and the heroine, who were determined to share each 
other's fate in the very eyes of the lady's implacable 

with stones, the upper surfaces of which bore evident marks of fire — in fact 
were vitrified — showing that the victim, or the dead body, was burnt within 
the grave. 

" Within view of Now Grange, and about a mile distant, seated on one of the 
higher slopes upon the Boync's banks, the third great cone of the group attracts 
our attention — Dubhadh, or Dowth. 

" A desire having long existed to explore some of these monuments, the 
Committee of Antiquities of the Royal Irish Academy obtained permission from 
the trustees of the Nettervillc Charity, the present proprietors of the Dowth 
estate, to examine the interior; and although the examination has not been 
at tended with the expected success, we have no hesitation in pronouncing it to 
have afforded the most valuable results. A catacomb, or scries of chambers, 
nut unlike those found beneath the great central chamber in the largest 
pyramid of the Sackara range, has been fully explored and rendered accessible 
to the curious, and these we shall presently detail. 

" Having made an open cutting into the western side of the mound, in 
following out these passages, it was certainly the most advisable as well as 
the cheapest plan, to follow in the same course till the centre was reached. 
The upper portion above the lintel is modern, the stones being replaced 
by the workmen. Following tliis exposed gallery, which ruus eastward, and 
is formed of huge stones, set on end, and slightly inclined at top, nine on the 
right, and eleven on the left, sunk in the ground, and roofed with large flags, 
similar to that of New Grange — we were led into a chamber of a cruciform 
. shape, and formed, with slight exceptions, upon the type of that already 
described in the great pyramid of New Grange. This passage is twenty- 
seven feet long, and some of its stones are carved with circles, curved and 
zig-zag lines. Both in this passage, and at the entrance of several of the 
minor crypts and recesses which branch from the chamber, we find sills, formed 
b\ large flags, projecting above the surface, placed there apparently for the 
purpose of preventing the external pressure driving in the side walls. The 
large central chamber is an irregular oval, nine feet four by seven feet, and the 
blocks of stone which form its upright pillars, are fully as large as those found 
at New Grange, and several of them are carved like those which we have 
already described in that place. 

" In the centre of the chamber stands a shallow stone basin, or rude sarco- 
phagus, of an ovoid shape, much larger than any of those at New Grange, 
measuring five feet in its longer diameter. There arc no basins in the three 
adjoining recesses. These recesses have narrow entrances, and are less open 



father, and accordingly dashed themselves down from 
its giddy heights. Such is the story told by Mariana ; 
but in Antequera they have yet another more romantic- 

It appears that a Moslem knight had long loved in 
secret the daughter of a noble of Antequera, when that 
city was still under the dominion of the Crescent. To 
save her from becoming the wife of .another they eloped ; 
and when they reached the Lovers' Rock, they rested to 
refresh themselves by the waters of the Guadalhorce, and 
asked some neighbouring shepherds for a cup of water. 
This was granted ; but the shepherds, who had evidently 
never been lectured into the propriety of minding their 
own business, and not troubling themselves about their 
neighbours' affairs, imagining the damsel was an unwilling 
victim, determined to attack her lover, which they accord- 
ingly did ; and when the Moor fell, pierced with wounds, 
his bride seized a dagger, and stabbing herself, fell a 
lifeless corpse by his side. They were buried where thej 
died, at the foot of the Pena de los Enamorados ; and 

than those of New Grange; that upon the right, and the one opposite the 
entrance, are each five feet deep ; the southern recess is six feet nine in length ; 
and, at its western angle, leads into a passage, which opens by a narrow entrance 
into another series of chambers and passages, the most extensive of which runs 
nearly southward. The roof of the right-hand chamber is nine feet seven 
inches from the floor. Creeping through these dark passages, and over the 
high projecting sills, which we have already described, we come to two small 
chambers, one within another, running nearly south-west, and measuring about 
two feet six each in breadth. Following, however, the long southern gallery, 
we find its floor formed by a single stone, ten feet six long ; and in the centre 
of this flag, we found a shallow oval excavation, capable of holding about one 
gallon of fluid, and apparently rubbed down with some rude tooL Beyond 
this flag, and separated from it by a projecting sill, we find a terminal chamber, 
with a sloping roof, and capable of holding a man in the sitting posture. 
The examination of this great catacomb, and the recent excavations at Dowth, 
have done good service to the cause of antiquarian research in this country. " 



their grave, we are informed by an historian of Antcquera, 
is still eagerly sought for by the country people, as tradi- 
tion says her jewels were buried with her. But although 
this rock has evidently taken its name from some origin 
like the foregoing 1 , it is singular why every mountainous 
country should have a Lovers' Rock and a Devil's Bridge. 

By the way, it is a curious thing there are not any 
ghosts in Spain ; no tales of horrible apparitions that 
come either with good or evil intent to haunt certain 
families, and terrify strong-minded people. The mira- 
culous tales of images and visions of their protecting 
saints seem to have supplanted the sort of legendary lore 
in which northern nations revel ; all their superstitions 
have a religious cast about them, but of ghosts and fairies 
you never hear a syllable. It is singular that it should be 
so, for one might well imagine they would have possessed 
some lingering souvenir of the former possessors of the 
land ; some trace might still be found of a people whose 
favourite pastime was hearing tales of the Arabian Nights. 
If they had them, they have been effectually driven out by 
the crowd of marvellous legends attached to the images of 
favourite saints. 

A pleasant ride of a few leagues brought us to 
Archidona, a wretched little town, situated on the southern 
slope of a peculiarly shaped hill. Its three bare peaks 
rise upon the summit, with a depression between them, 
looking like the crater of an extinct volcano. The ascent 
through the town is precipitous ; the layers of solid rock, 
bare and exposed, forming the pavement. Remains of the 
ancient walls still girdle its inaccessible heights, and it 
was formerly one of the strongest fortresses the Moors 
possessed. It fell into the power of the Christians, in 1462. 

After passing Archidona, we entered once more upon 
a wooded country, and halted, in the middle of the day, in 
a most sylvan scene, beneath the shade of the evergreen 



oak. A grassy plot, surrounded by wild roses and haw- 
thorn, the white flowers of the convolvulus (Convolvulus 
lineatus) covering the ground. A very scene for a 
gipsy encampment, so sweet and rural, and so far away 
from any human dwelling-place. Wild and lovely are 
these Sierras, and between Archidona and Loja it appears 
to have been deserted by man. Traces of his existence 
however, are evident in the vast fields of wheat which 
appear here and there in the forest glades ; but whence 
come the hands that cultivate them ? They must have a 
weary walk when preparing the ground to receive its crop, 
and again when the harvest calls them to reap the fruits 
of their toil. Lovely, but desolate, was our ride this day ; 
the wide extent of forest ground, hemmed in on all sides 
by lofty mountains, which glowed with fire when the 
light of the setting sun bathed them in the tints. 

We never met a soul the whole way save the bearer 
of Her Catholic Majesty's mails ; the vast correspondence 
which was on its way to Archidona and Antequera ; the 
boy to whom they were entrusted, mounted on a sorry 
steed, jingling with bells and decked with gaudy 
trappings. His letter-bags were slung behind him, nor 
did they appear a very great encumbrance. Soon after- 
wards we struck in upon the road, which we had 
traversed before, when riding from Granada to Seville ; 
and night had long set in before we took up our old 
quarters at the posada in Loja. 

The same well-known road w r as traversed the next day 
on our way to Granada, and the snowy summits of the 
Sierra Nevada warned us once more of our proximity to 
this most enchanting of cities. The road seemed lon<r 
and weary, and the night was far advanced before we 
arrived at the end of our peregrinations. The moon was 
shining in all her beauty as each well-remembered scene 
again broke upon our view ; and the next morning found 



us once more settled in Granada, where we were to pass 
the burning summer months amid its gushing waters 
and shady proves. Once more our footsteps lingered 
amid the fairy halls of its Moorish palaee ; and well did 
I feel the truth of Dumas' remark, that although one of 
the greatest pleasures in life may be the first view of 
Granada, there is one greater still — that of visiting it a 
second time. 


"It was night before our travellers got to the middle and most desert part of the 
mountain; where Saucho advised his master to remain some days, at least as long as their 
provision lasted; and accordingly that night they took up their lodging between two rocts: 
but fortune directed Gincs de Passamontc, that master-rogue, to this very part of the 
mountain." — Don Quixote. 

"The curate and the barber of the village, both of them Dou Quixote's intimate 

acquaintances, happened to be there at that juncture." — Ib. 





We were once more established at Granada, and the 
summer months passed away as rapidly as possible. 
Again we revelled in the enjoyment of its lovely views, 




and wandered about its green vega, visiting each favourite 
spot with renewed pleasure. Days went by as evenly as 
days generally do in this half oriental land, where time 
glides away so imperceptibly. 

At last we were tempted to ascend the Picacho a second 
time, and do the honours of the Sierra Nevada to some 
fresh arrivals, who were most anxious to explore the 
grand mountain scenery around. We were so much 
enchanted with our previous visit, that it required but 
little persuasion to induce us to undertake a second 
expedition ; and one fine morning, at three o'clock, we 
started. Our ascent was all " couleur de rose," and 
we found the Choza as hospitable a refuge as we did 
on the first occasion ; but remembering our previous 
adventure, descending in the dark, we determined this 
time to wait until the morning, and reach the summit in 
time to see the sun rise. This arrangement enabled us 
to ramble about the rocky scenery of the Choza, and 
revisit several interesting spots. The sunset was splen- 
did ; for at an altitude of more than eight thousand 
feet we were sufficiently elevated to see the summits 
of the range of mountains below us crimsoned with 
its parting hues. When the dark shades of night suc- 
ceeded the soft grey twilight, which at this elevation was 
remarkably clear, we were glad to form a sort of gipsy r 
party round a bright-blazing fire, which, diffusing its genial 
warmth around, rendered us utterly regardless of cold ; 
in fact we spent a very merry evening, talking and 
chatting, and our guides related many an amusing 
anecdote. When in the middle of a wonderful bandit 
story, we were joined by two poor country peasants, 
seeking that medicinal herb, manzanilla, so much recom- 
mended, so generally used by the medical faculty of Spain. 
The poor men were glad enough to take a seat near the 
fire, and we commenced preparations for our airy couch ; 




protected by the sheltering rock, we passed the night very 
comfortably beneath the vaulted canopy of heaven — with 
this exception, however, that so much had been said about 
being amply provided with cloaks to guard us against 
the cold, that we fell into the opposite extreme, and at 
midnight a universal exclamation arose, " really the heat 
is quite oppressive ;" and strange as it may appear, it i- 
not more strange than true, that two of our party were 
quite glad to have recourse to the fan in regular Spanish 

Our old friend Francisco was in high force, declaring 
that he loved the Choza far better even than his native 
village, for here he w T as " monarch of all he surveyed," 
and at this height there were no unwelcome insects to 
disturb his rest, and no women or children to drive him 
distracted. Alas for the morn! as usual our intention- 
were frustrated, as those of people generally are who take 
the trouble of climbing a mountain to see the sun rise. 
On this occasion the sun declined to rise, or at least came 
forth curtained by such heavy clouds, that after a serious 
discussion on the subject, we resolved on not attempting 
the ascent until the day was more advanced. It was 
something like a conversation previous to undertaking a 
pic-nic on a cloudy English day, when everybody's 
opinion is in accordance with his wishes, and against 
the very evidence of his senses, some of us main- 
taining the clouds would disperse, others declaring it 
was hopeless ; at length we found it was time to make 
preparations for breakfast, and after having satisfac- 
torily concluded that very important commencement of 
a fatiguing excursion, the sun shone forth in all his 
splendour, and we started for the summit. Again we 
stood upon one of the loftiest points of the Sierra, the 
grand panorama bursting upon our view in all its solemn 


29 1 

Having already ascended this height, I must not detain 
my readers a second time, and after numerous obser- 
vations with aneroid and thermometer had been taken, we 
retraced our steps towards Granada. Not more than 
an hour had passed after w r e left the Choza, when w r e met 
the Xeveros coming; up to fetch their nightly cargo of 
snow. After the usual friendly salutation, they paused, 
as if uncertain what to do ; at length beckoning one of the 
party aside, a mysterious conversation in an under tone 
commenced ; and w T e were told that we had better not 
proceed, for a band of " ladrones" w T ere waiting for us at 
the Puche, a well-selected spot for a robbers' haunt, about 
half way down the. Sierra. Eighteen well-armed, deter- 
mined brigands, who had resolved on capturing the " rich 
English," who had been foolish enough to wander into 
such elevated regions. They also told us that they had 
already a few days before captured an officer, who had 
gone on a shooting excursion to the mountains, and kept 
him for ten days in a cave, whence he had contrived to 

In short, the men looked grave ; and incredulous though 
we all were about robbers, we began to feel that sort of 
indefinable sensation which follows upon a w ell-told ghost 
>tory. We began by thinking there might be some truth 
in it, and ended in feeling convinced that there w^as. 
And now commenced the grand cabinet council ; what 
was to be done ? After all it might be a false alarm ; we 
had but one alternative, either to brave the danger or 
make a detour by Guejar, a village in the valley of the 
Xenil, which was quite safe, but a desperately bad road, 
and an immense way round. Some thought the road too 
bad, and fancied it better to brave the danger: others 
wished to go round ; at one moment it was better to go, 
and then it was better to stay — in short, it appeared as if 
the knotty point would never be settled, when one of the 

u 2 



gentlemen boldly taking upon himself to decide our fate, 
pronounced that we should not show th" white feather, 
but proceed without delay, only taking the precaution to 
hurry on, that we might pass the dreaded place before 
nightfall, for it was already late. 

Francisco, nimble as a deer, and perfectly acquainted 
with every nook and corner of the Sierra, darted off to be 
on the look-out, announcing his intention of seeking 
assistance in the cortijos of the Xenil, if he saw any 
suspicious personages in the distance. All was arranged, 
and on we went in solemn silence, speculating on the 
pleasant prospect of passing a week in some dark cave. 
We had nothing to lose, for we had no money with us, 
consequently a ransom could be their only hope of 
making money. We all had our own thoughts and 
occupations ; and my fair companion sought to bury her 
gold chain and eye-glass in the folds of her dres>, that 
she might have some chance of preserving her most valued 
friends in case of accident ; I was calculating what they 
would value us at ; and as to our escort, I shall charitably 
conclude that the gentlemen were meditating how they 
could best protect the ladies under their charge. On we 
went, and saw nothing, and heard nothing ; and when we 
reached the dreaded Puche, everything was remarkably 
quiet. All hopes or fears of an adventure were at an 
end ; the Rubicon was passed ; when, to our horror, 
we heard the man, who was leading one of the horses 
in front, exclaim : " Aqui estan," (here they are.) A 
huge rock had concealed them from us ; and one 
moment told us that we had been discovered. By 
an involuntary impulse, we checked our horses, but 
then made the best of it ; and putting a bold front 
upon the matter, we were in a moment face to face 
with the enemy. 

And there they were, looking so delightfully pic- 



turesque, about twenty men leaning on their muskets, 
dotted about at equal distances along the road, evidently 
awaiting our arrival. They closed round us in a friendly 
manner, at the same time quietly, but most determinately 
impeding our onward progress. We exchanged the most 
loving salutations ; and then they asked us, what we were 
doing there, and where we had been. We assured them, 
we had only been to see the sun rise from the Picacho, 
and having been frustrated in our purpose, we had taken 
a bird's-eye view of their most lovely land, and were 
quietly returning to Granada. 

" And who was the man, who passed about a quarter of 
an hour ago ? Did he belong to you?" 

" lie was our guide," replied the man belonging to the 
horses, who was trembling with fear from head to foot. 
" lie went on to give the alarm, as we w r ere told a band of 
robbers were waiting for us here." 

" And how did you hear of the robbers ?" asked 
a man who evidently seemed to be the leader of the 

"The neveros told us," we replied; "and our guide 
went on to seek assistance." 

" Well, it is true," said their leader, " there are plenty 
of robbers about, and I am the Alcalde of Monachil, 
come up with a party of men to look for these robbers ; 
we are the Justicia, and are going up the Sierra in search 
of them." 

Alas ! and this was to be the finale of our adventure 
with robbers. To find the romance of the thing turned 
into the matter-of-fact reality of a few villagers with their 
chief magistrate at their head, wandering about in pursuit 
of the bandits. I continued talking to the old man, who 
was most liberal in giving us very good advice, at the 
same time refusing us any assistance, and assuring us that 
we should inevitably fall in with them lower down the 



mountain on our way to Granada ; he also informed us 
that he and his men were going to look for them higher 
up. This seemed rather inconsistent ; however, we made 
each other many civil speeches, and with a mutual " Vayan 
V ds con Dios !" we parted, and they were soon lost to 
view as they scrambled over the rocks. We had hardly 
parted five minutes, when we were hailed by Francisco, 
who came breathless up from the valley of the Xenil, 
accompanied by several men with their muskets over their 
shoulders ; he expected to find us already in the power of 
the robbers, for he told us, that when he turned the self- 
same rock where we first perceived them, he saw two 
men with muskets creep out of a cavern, and without 
waiting for more information, he took to his heels to 
spread the alarm. They fired upon him, but missed, 
and he flew on the wings, not of love, but of fear to 
rouse the country. It was now quite dark, and we 
had yet some leagues to go ; the countrymen, who 
had come to our assistance, declined accompanying 
us, preferring to stay and defend their homes and 
families, instead of risking their lives in the cause of 
the foreigners. 

Our guides enjoined silence, and a solemn party we 
were winding down those rugged paths in the dead of 
night, fearing that the slightest sound might betray us to 
the dreaded bandits, who were doubtless waiting for our 
approach behind some hidden rock. At last we were in 
the vega, and our brave companions pronounced that we 
were out of danger, and might speak with perfect safety ; 
and at midnight we arrived at Granada. On the following 
day, Francisco informed us that the people we met were 
really the robbers; but that, on hearing from us that 
he had escaped, and that the alarm was given, they 
had wisely passed on, announcing themselves as the 
" Justicia." 



This naturally excited great discussion ; there was an 
irresistible fascination in the idea, that we really had met 
live banditti, seen them, spoken to them, and, what was 
more, escaped from them. Each advocated a different view 
of the subject ; one took up this side of the question, 
another that, and the case was so long and so eloquently 
argued, that we ended by not any of us knowing what 
opinion we really entertained. We consulted several 
Spaniards, who came to the wise conclusion, that it was 
in all probability, the Justicia we met ; but as the Justicia 
in Spain are nearly as great thieves as the robbers them- 
selves, we might consider we had had a very fortunate 

Jesting apart, we had really got off w r ell ; for there is no 
doubt, there was a very formidable band of robbers in the 
mountain at that period, and we found, on referring the 
matter to the captain-general, that the story of the officer 
who had been taken prisoner, was really true. He went 
upon a shooting excursion alone, and as he was riding 
leisurely along, with his musket across his knees, smoking 
his cigar, he was accosted by two men, who introduced 
themselves as miners ; they offered to join him as they were 
going the same road, and one of them asking for a light, 
he loosed his musket for a moment, when the other seized 
it, and announced he was a prisoner. They carried him 
off to a cave, and demanded twelve thousand reals as his 
ransom, which was to be left at a certain spot, on a day 
fixed. The authorities sent out a number of the Guardia 
Civil, disguised, with the money ; but the robbers, dis- 
covering their danger, made off, leaving the poor man 
to make his escape and return to Granada as best he 

A sudden plague of robbers seemed to have infested 
Andalucia this season, and the country was in a worse 
state than it had been for many years past. The 



leader of the band was a man, nicknamed Chato, who 
kept all the country between Cordoba and Ronda in 
terror. He hardly condescended, however, to attack 
travellers ; he came down and levied contributions on the 
farm-houses, carrying off hostages for the payment of the 
required sums. Some of his prisoners were very much 
edified by the devout manner in which he and his band 
observed Lent, for they fasted most religiously. It seemed 
almost impossible to put down these robbers; many of 
the villagers were in league with them, and the vast 
uninhabited tracts and mountainous country gave them 
ample opportunity of concealing themselves from their 
pursuers. Even the better class hardly venture to 
assist in their capture ; their possessions in the country 
being at the mercy of these lawless bands, they find it 
less trouble to live on good terms with them, than to 
assist a government, whose arm is not sufficiently strong 
for protection. 

Andalucia was proclaimed under martial law this last 
autumn, but even this did not succeed ; Chato, as yet, 
having contrived to elude their vigilance. The papers 
were forbidden to allude to the subject, as their long 
existence unchecked, rather reflected on the government. 
Now and then rumours of his capture were spread, but as 
speedily contradicted. Once, they gave all the particulars 
of his having been murdered in a quarrel by an associate 
in crime, and when his murderer was arrested, and asked, 
why he had shot him, he replied with great sang froid, 
because he was such a thief (muy ladron). A few days 
after, however, the papers announced that the real Chato 
had appeared in Estremadura. 

Our stay in Granada at length drew to a close ; but 
these robbers interfered sadly with our plans, and many 
were the discussions which ensued as to the best means 
of getting to Cordoba, a distance in reality of only sixty 



miles, and yet the journey thither appeared to be attended 
with difficulties almost as insurmountable as the dis- 
covering of the North- West Passage. All the high roads 
in this country branch from Madrid to the large provincial 
towns ; and travelling by the regular diligences from one 
extremity to the other is easy enough, but to get from 
one intermediate town to another is a matter requiring 
serious consideration for those who are not sufficiently 
good equestrians to take a short cut across the mountains. 
The ride from Granada to Cordoba by Alcala is prac- 
ticable enough on horseback, but in this instance we were 
debarred, not so much by the fatigue, as the dread of 
Chato and his followers, who were in that neighbour- 
hood, and whose appearance would not have been a very 
agreeable addition to a party of " unprotected females." 
We had too lately escaped, voluntarily to run the risk 
of meeting with some real adventure. Visions of a 
cave in the mountains as a residence for even a limited 
period, with the more disagreeable penalty of handing 
out some thousands of reals or dollars before obtaining 
permission to depart, did not offer a very tempting 
prospect. Besides which, the captain-general would 
not hear of our going without an escort ; and as the 
troops were then all engaged in pursuit of the robbers, 
he could only offer us a guard or two, and would not 
guarantee our safety unless we kept to the high road, 
thus giving us a pleasant little detour taking two sides 
of a triangle — thanks to Chato. 

A ride, too, along a dusty high road is anything but 
amusing, however charming it may be in a wild moun- 
tainous district. The difficulty of getting places in the 
diligence to Baylen, combined with the uncertainty of 
finding others upon our arrival there in the down 
diligence from Madrid to Cordoba made us resign our- 
selves to the disagreeable alternative. All was put in 



readiness, the saddle-bags were duly stored with pro- 
visions, large parasols bearing a strong resemblance to 
juvenile umbrellas, veils, sun-shades were called into 
requisition to protect our fair complexions from the 
scorching sun, and the jamugas, or saddles used by 
women in this country, were prepared with cushions and 
every little &c. that could add to the comfort of my 
companions. But, alas ! all these precautionary arrange- 
ments were of no avail, the very day before our departure 
news arrived of a fight between some of the banditti and 
the Guardia Civil ; and as the latter were worsted in the 
fray, prudence required we should change once more for 
the diligence. 

It was just the season when all the public conveyances 
to Madrid are crowded with people returning from the 
baths, where they have been spending the summer 
months. In order to secure places for our numerous 
party to Baylen, we paid the fare the whole way to 
Madrid, foolishly confiding in Spanish promises, that if 
there were people going from Baylen to Madrid, the 
extra fare should be repaid. This important affair 
decided by the fact of having paid our money in advance, 
a most powerful preventive to people changing their 
minds, we waited with patience for the appointed day, 
and in the meantime indulged ourselves with taking a 
last farewell of our favourite haunts. Never does time 
hang so heavily on one's hands as during the interval 
which elapses after every preparation has been made for 
departure, when everything is packed up, and nothing- 
left to afford one any occupation save the one book 
which may have been left to while away the many 
hours of the journey. The very idleness creates a 
feeling of sadness ; how much more so when one is 
about to leave a place endeared by many a recollection, 
perhaps for ever. 


The day of departure arrived at length, and at five in 
the morning we found ourselves settled in the interior of 
the heavy diligence, rolling over the very uneven pave- 
ment of the Granada streets, with two companions for 
our journey. One. a native of the town, who was going 
to travel for the first time in his life — that is to say, he 
was proceeding to Cordoba. The other was a sweet- 
looking Sister of Charity, who was returning to Madrid. 
Poor little thing ! her seat with her back to the horses, 
which we in vain begged her to change, did not agree 
with her ; she suffered dreadfully, but she bore it with 
such resignation that it seemed to be taken as a matter of 
course, and added only another to the many trials of this 
life which she had made up her mind to endure. She 
was consigned to the protection of the mayoral or coach- 
man very much like a parcel, with care, to be delivered 
safely, and seemed to have a very vague idea of her 
journey, for when we arrived at Jaen she asked me if we 
were near Madrid. A Spanish diligence is a strange 
unwieldy affair, drawn by ten or twelve mules, whose 
united strength is sometimes insufficient to drag the 
cumbrous machine through the beds of rivers, or up 
the sides of steep acclivities. The mayoral has an 
attendant sprite, who knows all the mules by name, 
and when he wishes to urge them on to greater 
speed he jumps off the box, and by whip and voice 
induces them to accelerate their pace, running along 
by their side ; the screeching with which he yells 
out their names being rather a preventive to the 
passengers, at least those who are in the coupe, 
enjoying any repose. 

Our road lay through a portion of the vega planted 
with vines and olives, some parts of it having belonged 
to the Carthusian friars, but now in the possession of a 
rich capitalist, who is spending a great deal upon them. 



Passing the Puerta de Cubillas we bade adieu to the richly- 
cultivated lands, and began to cross a wild mountainous 
tract, its bare stony heights relieved here and there by a 
few tufts of some low shrubs, without a tree to cast the 
slightest shade on the calcined dusty soil, all the same 
monotonous arid colour ; a lonely venta in some deserted 
valley where we changed horses gave no variety to the 
scene, and we breakfasted at a small village called Cam- 
pillos de Arenas. A little beyond Arenas a singular bare 
ridge of rocks strikes across the valley with a deep 
perpendicular cleft, through which the river rushes — 
when there is one, that is to say, for at present there 
was not much appearance of water. This forms a 
natural entrance to the kingdom of Granada ; the road 
is tunnelled through the rocks on one side, and continues 
to bear the same character, until across a dusty plain 
the walls of the old Moorish Castle of Jaen are seen 
cresting the heights, with the town nestled in a hollow 
at its base. Two hills rise behind the town ; between, 
the space is occupied by the two lofty towers of the 
cathedral, and, for a wonder, both of them are com- 
pleted. Jaen contains nothing very remarkable, and 
therefore we had not much to regret in passing it so 

The two hills just alluded to are backed by a loftier 
ridge, wmile to the south there seems to be some fine 
mountain scenery ; in spring it may be pretty, but now 
the whole country round has the same yellowish sandy 
tinge, and not even the desert itself can be more dreary 
than to country on to Baylen. Endless plains sweep- 
ing over low undulating hills, without a trace of anything 
green in their whole expanse ; no signs of villages, not a 
hut to be seen ; all the same dusty hue. The only trace 
of vegetation that met the eye was a few tufts of the 
caper-plant, which is peculiarly refreshing from the 


extreme brilliancy of its deep green leaves and large 
white flowers ; but here it had shared the fate of every- 
thing; else, and was concealed beneath the same dusty 
mantle. It was getting dusk as we reached Mengibar, 
where a suspension bridge crosses the Guadalquivir, 
which is here a respectable stream flowing between deep 
sandy banks. 

We had changed our fellow-travellers in Jaen, and our 
new companion told us, for our consolation, that this 
bridge was not considered safe. He said it cost four 
millions of reals, but the contractor spent only one half 
on the work, and pocketed the remainder ; and then he 
indulged in the usual remarks which Spaniards make 
about the wholesale system of robbery, universal in all 
public transactions throughout the country. They all 
seem aware of the state of things, but in this respect the 
consciousness of the abuse does not appear to lead to any 
amendment, for they go on just the same, all availing 
themselves of the first opportunity to practise the very 
thing they condemn so eloquently. Our companion 
whiled away the rest of the journey to Baylen with 
wonderful accounts of robbers' deeds, hair-breadth escapes 
and strange adventures, enough to put one's nerves into 
an agitated condition, considering the darkness of the 
night and loneliness of the country, had not the presence 
of the Guardias along the road assured us we were com- 
paratively safe. Spaniards do revel in robbers' stories, 
and now that they have some excuse for talking about 
them, they really form the staple subject of conver- 
sation. We reached Baylen in the middle of the 
night, having duly had our friend's house placed at 
our disposal, and many offers of assistance, which I 
am sure would have been most joyfully given had we 
required them. 

Although, according to our ideas, the Spaniards may 



be inhospitable, no people can be more ready to do a 
good-natured thing for another person, and they will 
inconvenience themselves with pleasure to oblige you. 
After a mutual change of civilities, we went to the hotel, 
where we found a strange mixture of comfort and misery. 
A French waiter seemed to promise great things ; he 
proved, however, to be a Canadian, and how he had found 
his way to Baylen was a mystery we did not fathom. 
A remarkably nice French service of China made its 
appearance with the coffee, but there was no table on 
which to put it, and our chairs were all soon occupied 
in pic-nic style with some of the provisions that we had 
fortunately brought. After some difficulty we found beds 
on which to repose until the diligence passed from Madrid 
to Seville, in which we hoped to find places ; but before 
retiring to rest, I had a most animated discussion with 
the administrador of the diligence, as he refused to 
refund the money promised in the event of the places 
being taken on to Madrid, which they all were the 
moment we arrived. He called the man at Granada a 
ladron (a thief), and when I remonstrated on the 
impropriety of his not fulfilling the promise made to 
me there, he told me he could not stand such language. 
I threatened to refer the whole thing to the office at 
Madrid ; and in justice I must add, that through the 
interference of a friend there, part of the money actually 
was refunded. 

At three o'clock in the morning, we were roused from 
our very unsatisfactory slumbers by the agreeable intelli- 
gence that there was plenty of room in the diligence, and 
we were relieved from the dread of having to spend a few 
days in this lively place ; for Baylen is a town which even 
Spaniards would hardly like as a residence, although they 
may always be boasting of its glories. We proceeded to 
Cordoba ; but as we retraced our steps to Baylen again, 



within a month, to make a short excursion into the 
Ca^tiles, I will at once continue on the route to Madrid, 
and leave the description of Cordoba until later, as Ave 
revisited it on our return to Seville. 

Baylen is celebrated for the battle which was fought 
here in 1808, the one battle which, according to Spanish 
historians, turned the fortune of war in the Peninsula, and 
gave the first blow to the arms of Napoleon. The hero 
of it, Castanos, Duke of Baylen, died in September last, 
but a few short days after England lost her greatest 
general. lie had been made a Grandee, but otherwise 
had not received much from a country whose gratitude 
expended itself in fine Avords. He lived sometimes in 
actual poverty, and during many periods of his life, he did 
not receive his pay regularly, as he himself mentions in 
his will. Nothing could be more unpretending or humble 
than the terms of his will ; he desired that no parade 
might be made, that his body might be carried to the 
church of the parish in which he died by his oaati ser- 
vants, and conveyed to the cemetery and laid in the 
ground, not in a niche, but at the foot of the one in 
which his sister Avas buried. He concluded by leaving 
some feAv legacies to his servants and dependents. But 
the government chose to honour him in death, and 
he was buried by royal decree in the Church of the 
Atocha, amid all the pomp and splendour of a state 

From Baylen, the road leads to the Carolina, a for- 
mally-built village, peopled by foreign colonists, Avho Avere 
brought here to cultivate lands which the expulsion of the 
Moors had left deserted. About tAvo leagues to the right 
of La Carolina is the scene of the celebrated battle of the 
Navas de Tolosa, gained by Alfonso VIII. in 1212. A 
shepherd led the Christian arms through the mountain 
passes, whom the superstitious enthusiasm of those days 



converted into San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid. 
From the Carolina the road ascends to Santa Elena, which 
stands on a height commanding an extensive view. It now 
passes the splendid gorge of the^Despenaperros, a truly 
alpine pass, which is traversed by a magnificent road laid 
out in the time of Charles III. Here you ascend the high 
table-land, the great central plateau of Spain, and here 
you bid adieu to all fine scenery, and leave behind the 
orange groves and snowy mountains of Andalucia. You 
reach the Venta de Cardenas, and before you are the wide, 
uninteresting steppes of that most hideous of provinces, 
dull La Mancha Nothing but dreary wastes, without 
a tree to gladden the eye in the wide expanse ; green, 
perhaps, for a short period in spring, when the corn is 
rising ; but yellow, dusty, and desolate at all other seasons 
of the year. The villages wear an air of wretchedness, 
their inhabitants of misery ; the gay, dashing air, and 
knowing-looking sombrero of the Andaluz, is exchanged 
for the sober heaviness of the Manchego, with his 
" montera," or fur cap. 

The scene is completely changed ; but genius has 
invested this uninviting land with a charm which nature 
has denied it ; and the very first name you hear on leaving 
the Despenaperros, the Venta de Cardenas, recalls the 
name of Cervantes, and the pages of his immortal work. 
The traveller through La Mancha seeks carefully for each 
place recorded in Don Quixote, with as much interest as, 
in other lands, people endeavour to discover the sites of 
events which are renowned in history, and the first glimpse 
of a windmill awakes as much delight as though the 
sorrowful knight and his faithful squire had lived in truth. 
Such is the power of genius to invest, with all the interest 
of reality, the mere creation of the fancy, and people a 
dreary land with souvenirs of beings who never existed 
except in the mind of their author. 



At Santa Cruz de Mudela, the people crowd around, 
offering narvajas for sale, of all dimensions, for a mere 
trifle : and, common as the workmanship is, it is won- 
derful how they can sell them so cheaply. The next 
place is Valdepenas, celebrated for its red wine, much 
of which is consumed in Madrid. It is carried generally 
in pig-skins, which gives it a strong pitchy flavour. 
The same dreary plains lead through Manzanares, with 
its large plaza and wooden balconies ; and beyond, the 
numerous windmills, dotted about, recall one of the 
whimsical knight's adventures ; in short, every step 
reminds one of Don Quixote and his honest faithful 
squire. Even while we were waiting, our attention 
was attracted by a scene in a barber's shop opposite, 
in which a worthy padre played a conspicuous part ; 
and we immediately pronounced them to be " the curate 
and the barber of the village, both of them Don 
Quixote's intimate acquaintance, who happened to be 
there at that juncture." A copy of the inimitable 
work of Cervantes, is an indispensable accompaniment 
to a journey in La Mancha ; it will lighten the weary 
hours, and give an interest to its interminable plains, 
while it presents a living picture of the people 

New Castile is entered, but the scenery does not im- 
prove ; on the contrary, the villages seem more wretched 
a- you advance. Tembleque will shortly have a little 
more animation, as the railroad to Valencia is to pass 
through it, and will before long be finished thus far, 
about seven leagues south of Aranjuez. It would have 
been completed long since in any other place, but here 
money was wanting, and the works progressed but 
slowly. Nothing could be more desolate-looking than the 
line of railway crossing this desert waste ; half-a-dozen 
men were carrying about a few baskets of earth, and 




seemed to have fallen from the skies, so little sign was 
there of any human habitation in the neighbourhood. 
But of all wretched places, perhaps La Guardia is one of 
the worst, the people living in excavations in the rock-. 
At last we reach Ocana, a town celebrated for one of 
Soult's great victories, in 1809. It is a stragLclhi2. 
miserable-looking place, with a large inn. Here we 
stopped to rest and take a cup of chocolate, for we had 
a little time to spare before the train started from 
Aranjuez. The passengers all made their appearance 
from the different portions of our vehicle, and we talked 
over various subjects, until one man attracted our atten- 
tion above the others from his energetic abuse of the 

I found at last he was an extensive owner of slaves, 
and one or two of his vessels had been captured by our 
ships on the African coast. The manner in which he 
talked of buying slaves, and the atrocious way in 
which he spoke of his traffic in them, was enough 
to make one shudder ; and those who heard him would 
not have required their imaginations to be fired by the 
pages of a novel, before they awoke to the horrors of 
slavery. A-propos to this, the enthusiasm with which 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin" has been received in Europe, 
has extended itself even to the Peninsula, and every 
wall is now covered with advertisements, announcing 
half-a-dozen different versions, each purporting to be 
the only authorised translation, of " La Choza del Tio 
Tom !" 

Further details were interrupted by the summons to 
depart, and we soon found ourselves once more esconced 
in the different portions of our lumbering, clumsy-looking 
vehicle, on our road to Aranjuez. This " Real sitio," or 
royal country residence, has quite a refreshing appearance, 
as you descend upon it ; here there are actually trees in 



the royal park, and the town has a liveable and civilized 
appearance. The palace is a large, straggling building, 
and is inhabited by the Court in spring, before the heat 
drives them to the refreshing breezes of the Guadarramas. 
The railway station is just in front of the palace, and is at 
present in a very juvenile state. Everything is taken so 
quietly and leisurely, that it offers a strange contrast to 
the bustle of an English railway. It seems an affair of 
perfect indifference, whether the trains start exactly or 
not ; in fact it is not of the slightest importance ; they will 
wait if there is any one of consequence coming — for it 
cannot matter. These things, however, must improve 
when there are more trains, and the line embraces a 
further extent of road. At present, they go so slowly/, 
and stop at so many small intermediate stations, that 
they hardly shorten the time. The guards stand with 
a signal in one hand, and a musket in the other — a 
curious combination. Some of the stations are regular 
copies of those in England, and seem quite exotics in 
the land. 

At length you approach Madrid, and what a country to 
find in the neighbourhood of a capital ! Strange infatua- 
tion to select such a site for the seat of government, to 
abandon for such a desert, places like Toledo and Seville 
and Yalladolid ! An undulating country lies before you, 
bare and bleak as man could see, not a tree, not a 
habitation, the dark chain of the Guadarramas rising 
in the distance, and immediately in front a low hill 
crowned with some large buildings, and tall thin spires, 
and leaden domes. And this is Madrid, the capital 
of Spain ! It has the appearance of a large village ; 
until you reach the very walls, you see no signs of 
life : no crowded suburbs warn you of the vicinity of 
a metropolis ; all is dead and desert-like, until you 
actually enter within the gates of the " Villa y Corte 

x 2 



de Madrid." La Corte, as it is designated by Spaniards, 
is to them the very ne plus ultra of excellence, the 
paradise of delight, the centre, not only of Spain, 
but of the world ; and many of them are so infa- 
tuated with it, that I heard a Spaniard once say, he 
was quite sure, that if some of his countrymen were 
going to Heaven, they would keep one eye still fixed 
upon Madrid ! 

Within, you seek in vain for any stamp of nationality 
— it is a noble town, and possesses splendid streets 
and fine buildings, but anything really Spanish or 
essentially characteristic is not to be found. If the 
traveller wishes to see Spain, he must seek it in the 
time-honoured capitals of her ancient kingdoms, where 
the Tagus flows beneath the Alcazar of Toledo, where 
the Guadalquivir reflects the marble palaces of Seville, 
where Valencia stands amid her far-famed gardens, 
or Granada rears her Moorish towers in Burgos, 
Leon, Valladolid, but certainly not here. 

Madrid has, in fact, but one recommendation — it is 
in the centre of the country — and for the sake of that 
advantage all else has been sacrificed. Vain endeavours 
have been made to centralise everything, but it is of 
no avail — the natives of each kingdom still look upon 
their own capital with a feeling of partiality. They 
go to Madrid, but merely because it is the residence 
of the Court ; and there it stands, a capital without 
commerce, without healthful life, without industry, 
without anything to support it — dependent for every- 
thing on distant places, and giving nothing in return 
for all that it receives. Living is expensive in Madrid. 
All luxuries come from without, and land-carriage in 
Spain is slow and dear ; fuel is brought from a distance, 
and even water is a serious item in the expenditure of 
an establishment, for every drop has to be purchased 



The inhabitants are now engaged in a great work, that 
of bringing water from a distance ; and this undertaking, 
if really accomplished, will considerably alter and improve 
the town. 

Added to all this, the climate is one of the worst, 
perhaps, in Europe. The town stands at an elevation of 
more than two thousand feet above the level of the sea, 
on the highest point of the great table-land which forms 
the centre of the Peninsula — according to Humboldt, the 
largest plateau in the world — and as there are not any 
forests to catch and break the bleak winds, they sweep 
over from the Guadarramas with a piercing blast, which 
often proves extremely dangerous, and the more so from 
the hot sun, which makes the difference of temperature 
on opposite sides of the same street so very marked. In 
summer, the heat is proportionably intense. The great 
horror of all people here is the " pulmonia," a com- 
plaint which carries its victims off in a few hours ; 
and the fear entertained by the Madrileiios of exposing 
the chest to these insidious blasts is rather amusing 
to a stranger, until he begins to feel the necessity of 
taking the same precautions himself. At night it is 
very trying, after leaving hot and crowded rooms ; 
and people may all be seen, with their pocket-hand- 
kerchiefs held tight before their mouths, not daring 
to open their lips for fear the enemy might take the 
opportunity of seizing upon them with his unrelenting 
grasp. This irritating air causes an unusual consumption 
of dulces and all sorts of sweet, softening lozenges, 
with which people are always prepared to soothe their 
throats, and comfort themselves after the rude treat- 
ment they receive from these rough and ungentle 

Still, Madrid is the residence of the Court, and of all 
the world who love to bask in the sunshine of royal 



favour — the resort of all the place-hunters, or " pre- 
tendientes," who abound in Spain more, perhaps, than 
in any other country. With all its modern French 
appearance, it boasts, however, of great antiquity, and 
claims to have been founded some four thousand years 
ago. There are, nevertheless, many who dare to doubt 
the truth of this bold assertion, and maintain that the 
first time it was really ever mentioned in Spanish history 
was in 939, when Ramiro II. of Leon took it by storm. 
The superior glories of Toledo seem quite to have eclipsed 
the poor little village of Madrid, which was taken by 
Alfonso VII. after he had obtained possession of the 
former in 1083. In 1309, the first Cortes was assembled 
there, and it became gradually a favourite residence of the 
kings of Castile. The great Cardinal Ximenes de Cis- 
neros, when he was appointed regent of the kingdom on 
the death of Ferdinand of Aragon, was the first person 
who actually established the seat of government within its 

Here it was that he sought to curb the discontented 
spirit of the nobles ; and when they asked him by 
what authority he governed, he pointed to the cannon 
in the court-yard of his palace, and told them 
those were his credentials until the arrival of their 
sovereign Charles V. This monarch contributed much 
to improve and beautify the royal palace, but it was 
reserved for Philip II. finally to settle his Court at 
Madrid, and make it the capital of his kingdom. This 
monarch may really be considered as its founder ; several 
streets were laid out and planned by his orders, and many 
convents, hospitals, and other buildings sprang into 
existence at his mandate. But yet the sovereign at whose 
will the grand and sombre pile of the Escorial was 
erected, has not left any edifices in the capital worthy 
of the high state in which the arts were at that period. 



In the reigns of the succeeding monarchs, Madrid 
glittered with all the splendour of a Court which was 
gilding the ruin of the country ; and in the time of 
Philip IV. the names of Lope de Vega, Calderon, Quevedo, 
Valasquez, Murillo, and others shed a lustre over the 
capital, and literature and art flourished. In 1700 the 
Bourbons ascended the throne of Spain, and in 1751) 
their best and greatest King, Charles III., commenced a 
reign which Madrid has certainly reason to remember. 
It is to this monarch that Spain owes most of its magni- 
ficent roads, which were splendidly laid out, although 
now so neglected and kept in such wretched repair. In 
feet, the principal monuments of his rule are roads, bridges, 
and canals. He planted trees to adorn the Prado, and to 
him Madrid owes the Museum, the fine gate of Aleala, 
the noble buildings of the Custom-House, and sundry 
others too numerous to mention here. He died in 1788, 
and the crown descended to his son, a weak and imbecile 
Prince, beneath whose sway much misery was in store 
for Spain. Blindly led by his favourite Gocloy, he allied 
himself with France, and Spain became a mere plaything 
in the hands of Napoleon. 

Notwithstanding the internal dissensions, constant 
revolutions, and intrigues which followed, many great 
names shone amid the general darkness that was falling 
on the land ; and Jovellanos, Moratin, Melendez, and 
others are still remembered with pride by their 
countrymen. In 1808 the King was forced to abdicate 
in favour of his son Ferdinand, one of the most 
perfidious tyrants that ever ascended a throne ; but 
it was then too late to redress the grievances under 
which the country had been suffering ; Murat was 
already at the gates of Madrid, and the new sovereign 
made a forced journey to Bayonne, where his crown 
was placed at the feet of the conqueror. The far-famed 



events of the " dos de Mayo" (the 2nd of May), how- 
ever, proved to Napoleon that the enmity of the Spanish 
nation was deep and undying. The gauntlet of defiance 
was flung at his feet, and the guerilla warfare of 
the Spaniards showed their determination to resist the 

In 1812, Wellington, at the head of the Anglo-Spani-h 
army, entered Madrid, and the Constitution was adopted 
by the Commission of Regency at Cadiz during the same 
year. Ferdinand, not content with annulling all their 
actions on his return to his capital in 1814, and abro- 
gating the Constitution of 1812, persecuted all those who 
had been connected with its organisation ; and to this fatal 
step may be traced most of the sad revolutions and scenes 
of bloodshed, which have since desolated Spain. The 
restoration of an absolutism, under which they had long 
been groaning, rankled deep in the heart of the nation ; 
the sovereign endeavoured to make himself popular in 
Madrid, and, like despots in other countries, sought to 
amuse the people by fetes and all sorts of innocent 
amusements ; but in 1820, the spirit of discontent again 
burst forth, and Ferdinand was obliged to adopt once 
more the Constitution of 1812. 

Three years of civil war ensued, when the French were 
at length summoned to assist the sovereign in recovering 
the absolute power he had lost. The Duke d'Angouleme 
and his troops entered Madrid, and then proceeded to 
storm Cadiz, where the Constitutionalists held the King 
as prisoner. When he was restored to his capital, free 
again to exercise his own will, the oaths he had taken to 
abide by the Constitution were annulled, his promises 
broken, and the blood of Riego, as well as many of the 
Constitutionalists, flowed upon the scaffold. Ten years 
of comparative peace and tranquillity followed, until the 
death of Ferdinand in 1833, when his infant daughter 




ascended the throne under the guardianship of her mother. 
Civil war now burst forth ; the standard of Don Carlos 
was raised in the Basque provinces, and the Queen- 
mother, in order to save her daughter's throne, was 
obliged in 1836 once more to subscribe to the Consti- 
tution, which was modified the following year to suit the 
circumstances of the country. 

In 1839, the treaty of Vergara put an end to the 
misery of civil war, and Don Carlos retired to France. 
The " Progresistas," as the ultra-Liberal party are here 
termed, finally triumphed ; the Queen-mother was obliged 
to leave Spain, and Espartero was named Regent. Well 
had it been for Spain had she never been allowed to 
set her foot again in the land to which her avarice 
and her intrigues have proved such a curse. Opinions, 
of course, differ much on Espartero's government, his 
talents, or his energies were doubtless unequal to the 
post he occupied, and he soon fell before the well- 
arranged plots of the Queen-mother. After Espartero's 
flight, in 1843, the young Queen was declared of age; 
intrigues followed on intrigues ; in the course of a twelve- 
month nine successive governments held the reins of 
power; but at length, in 1844, Christina triumphed, 
and General Narvaez became President of the Council. 
His will was law ; he ruled with an iron hand. In the 
first year of his power several insurrections occurred in 
Alicante and in other places, which were quelled at the 
expense of a great sacrifice of human life. It was for 
the part he took in putting down the disturbances of 
Alicante that the late President of the Council, Roncali 
Conde de Alcoy, is chiefly remembered. 

Narvaez continued to govern with an almost absolute 
power, and under his administration the marriages of 
the Sovereign and her sister were arranged. All these 
events are too recent and too well remembered to need 



repetition. Narvaez was succeeded in the administra- 
tion of the government by Bravo Murillo, who, it was 
said, boasted that he could rule with the pen as well 
as Narvaez ruled with the sword. Following in the 
steps of his neighbours on the other side of the Pyrenees, 
he at length thought the time had arrived for a coup 
d'etat, and the 2nd of December in Paris was succeeded 
by a prorogation of the Cortes in Spain ; and the period 
of the proclamation of the empire was selected as the 
most judicious moment for a reform in the Constitution, 
which famous decree was promulgated while we were in 



Lo mejor del mundo es la Europa (i cosa clara !) ; la mejor dc las naciones dc Europa es la 
Espafia (i quien lo duda !) ; el pueblo mcjor de Espafia cs Madrid (<j de veras ?) ; el sitio mas 
principal dc Madrid cs la Puerta del Sol— ergo, la Pucrta del Sol es el punto privilegiado del 
globo. — El Cukioso Parlante. 





Although the approach to Madrid does not present 
the attributes of a capital, the interior is handsome ; and 
the two principal streets which lead from the Prado are 



very fine. Perhaps one of the first things which strikes 
a traveller is the absence of a cathedral, an object which 
one naturally expects to find in every great city ; Madrid, 
however, does not aspire to this dignity. It is only a 
town or a "villa," and, although honoured by the epithets 
of " imperial and crowned, loyal and noble," the favoured 
abode of monarchs, and the metropolis of the country, it 
still remains subject to the Archiepiscopal see of Toledo, 
and has no bishop or cathedral of its own. Neither do 
the churches contain anything remarkable. The Church 
of the Buen Suceso, in the Puerta del Sol, is the most 
fashionable, mass being performed there at a later hour 
than at the others, but nothing can be more mean or 
common-place than the interior. 

Having mentioned the Puerta del Sol, one must speak 
of this famous spot, this resort of the idlers of Madrid, 
and the centre of the town. Its name leads one to expect 
some great gateway, some fine remnant of antiquity, but 
the Puerta del Sol is nothing more than a very common- 
place-looking plaza, Avith an insignificant church at one 
end, which is honoured with an illuminated clock at night. 
A large paved space in front of this church serves as a 
lounge for those who wish to discuss the scandal and 
politics of the day, and affords a charming excuse for 
doing nothing, an occupation in which Spaniards are not 
loath to indulge. The corners of the streets of the Carmen 
and the Montera are quite full of idlers, rendering it no 
easy matter for carriages to force their way among the 
crowd who stand staring, talking, and examining the 
various amusements advertised for the evening, and the 
" affiche " of the approaching bull-fight. Were this called 
the Plaza del Sol, it would not be inappropriate, for the 
sun shines here with undiminished ardour during the 
whole of the day. 

The principal streets diverge from the Puerta del Sol, 



the Calle Alcala, and the Carrera San Geronimo, leading 
to the Prado ; the others branching into the different parts 
of the town. The houses in Madrid are very lofty, more 
in the French style, and families live on separate floors as 
in Paris. The entrances to some are not particularly 
attractive, being occupied by little stands where all sorts 
of cheap goods are sold, and cobblers and shoemakers 
abound. The shops in Madrid have a great show of rich 
and costly materials in the windows, in the way of dress 
and ornaments for the table, &c. The hotels are certainly 
not such as one might expect to find ; the largest is in 
the Calle Alcala, the " Peninsulares," where most of 
the diligences stop, and anything more dirty or disa- 
greeable, can hardly be imagined. There is an immense 
table-d'hote, where a large and motley assemblage of 
people are generally to be met with at five o'clock. 
All nations and all languages, all classes and all kinds 
are there assembled, without any particular regard as 
to their rank or position in society. Russian princesses, 
with their extensive suites, English engineers preparing 
to take advantage of the railroad mania which has seized 
upon Spain ; artists from all quarters, anxious to copy 
the treasures of the Madrid gallery ; French actors 
and actresses, and Italian opera-singers, fulfilling their 
engagements in the capital ; English travellers rushing 
through Spain, seeking to " do" everything in some infi- 
nitesimal space of time. When we were there the guests 
enjoyed an unusual privilege, for at one side of the table 
sat the immortal Ilollowav, who had come to diffuse the 
blessings of his pills among the benighted inhabitants of 

Although the hotels may not be good, still there are 
many very comfortable lodgings to be had, all within an 
accessible distance of the Puerta del Sol, and in these 
the traveller, who contemplates making an extended 



stay, will find it more advisable to establish himself. 
The Calle Alcala is a noble street, though many of 
the houses are not sufficiently lofty. The descent to 
the Prado is planted on both sides, with avenues of 
acacias. This celebrated promenade is a fine broad 
walk, overshadowed with trees, and extending an 
immense length ; the large centre space is reserved for 
pedestrians, and on one side is the fashionable drive. 
It is also ornamented with several fine fountains. Here 
in the afternoon may be seen all the world of Madrid 
driving and walking. 

Among the pedestrians there is nothing strikingly 
different from the appearance that such an assemblage 
would present in any other country, excepting, of 
course, the mantillas, which are still very much worn 
in Madrid. Here and there a priest may be seen 
passing among the throng, with his long black cloak 
and strange uncomfortably shaped hat, which mark the 
dress of the clergy ; but even they are beginning 
gradually to lay these aside, and dress like other 
people. Almost the only peculiarity of costume which 
still exists on the Prado is in the person of the 
nodrizas, or nurses, who come mostly from the pro- 
vinces of Biscay and the north, and always retain 
their own national costume while residing in the families 
of the nobility at Madrid. Some of these women are 
very good-looking, and in many families no expense is 
spared upon their dress, which generally consists of a 
black velvet jacket, and gay-coloured petticoat with 
broad bands of gold or silver tissue, making it very 
showy, and the costume is completed by a kerchief tied 
over the head. 

And here numbers of well-appointed carriages parade 
up and down every clay, backwards and forwards, and 
among them now and then those of the different members 


of the royal family, the Queen herself sometimes joining 
the throng. Her Majesty, however, seldom makes her 
appearance until very late, when the majority of the world 
are about returning home, her hours rather tending to 
reverse the night and day. She is now on sufficiently 
good terms with the King for him to accompany her in 
her drives, and the little Princess is generally in the 
arms of her governess, with the nurse by her side, 
decked out as magnificently as the nodriza of the heiress 
to the throne might well expect to be. A pretty drive 
to the Fuente Castellana forms a continuation of the 
Prado, and here people get out of their carriages to walk 
a little. The gayest time to see the Prado is during the 
Carnival, when Madrid certainly presents as lively a scene 
as can anywhere be witnessed. The line of carriages then 
extends up to the Church of the Atocha, and the whole 
Prado is ringing with the squeaking of masks, diversified 
with all the varied costumes and strange dresses adopted 
on such occasions. Parties of masks in carriages and on 
horseback enliven the paseo ; and it would all be charm- 
ing if one could only forget the intensity of the cold that 
prevails at this period, but the biting air of Madrid does 
not tend to enhance one's enjoyment. But for once the 
Madrilehos seem to forget the disagreeables of their 
climate, and devote themselves " con amore" to all the 
fun and frolic of the Carnival. The masks have certainly 
the best of it, their disguise sheltering them alike from 
the inquiring glances of friends, and the piercing blasts of 
the Sierra. 

The three last days of the Carnival are amusing ; but 
the grand scene of all is reserved for Ash Wednesday, a 
day in other countries more generally devoted to religious 
exercises, but here, by special permission, considered the 
last and merriest day of all. On Ash Wednesday is cele- 
brated what the Madrilenos call the Entierro de la 



Sardina (the funeral of the Sardine), when the whole 
population flock down to the grand canal to spend the 
day, and bury the poor little fish. The origin of this 
singular custom seems enveloped in obscurity ; and how 
such a burlesque on religious ceremonies should ever have 
been tolerated in a land where religion has held such a 
stern fierce rule, seems still more extraordinary. On this 
day, in the bustle of enjoyment, the cold and the unpro- 
pitious climate are forgotten, and all go forth, young and 
old, rich and poor, to assemble by thousands along the 
banks of the canal ; vehicles of every description are in 
requisition, and rush down, in order that they may return 
to convey a fresh cargo to the busy scene. 

And when you arrive at the canal you find the green 
banks covered with people, scattered about and seated in 
groups upon the grass, round a sort of pic-nic entertain- 
ment, feasting in every direction ; while the sound of the 
guitar, and the wild notes of the seguidilla and the 
manchego, are mingled with the lively air of the " Jota 
Aragonesa." Multitudes of masks are moving about, 
some all heads, and some all legs ; some clothed in 
harlequin colours, others mimicking some passing event 
of the day, and all is a scene of confusion and gaiety, 
until the attention is suddenly arrested by a funeral dirge, 
which breaks on the ear, and a procession appears bearing 
the corpse of the sardine to its resting-place. The 
bearers are dressed as penitents, with high-peaked caps, 
and chaunt the regular service for the dead in Latin ; one 
precedes, throwing holy water on the body, and the 
whole ceremony is gone through according to the most 
orthodox formula. And every Ash Wednesday this same 
burlesque is acted, and the clergy, if they endeavoured, 
would now be unable to put an end to the cere- 
mony, which time and custom have endeared to the 



There was an attempt made to do so a year or two ago, 
but it failed most signally ; and a small " pronuncia- 
mento," as they call emeutes in this country, would 
probably have followed on such an infringement of their 
amusements. So the sardine is allowed to go to the 
grave with all the funeral honours ; and while the people 
are enjoying themselves on the banks of the canal, the 
fashionables are taking their farewell of the carnival on 
the Prado. Such is Ash "Wednesday in Madrid. Masks 
are allowed to appear once more on the following Sunday, 
called the " Domingo de Pifiatas," when balls are given, 
and the scenes of the carnival are acted over again. 
There are a great many masked balls both in the 
theatres and in public rooms during the carnival, those 
at the Italian Opera House being particularly brilliant. 
Another gay time to see the Prado is in summer and 
autumn, on the days when the bull-fights are held. 

The Plaza de Toros of Madrid is just outside the fine 
gateway, called the Puerta Alcala, and the excitement 
and commotion in the neighbourhood on these occasions, 
could hardly be credited by those who have not witnessed 
these national spectacles. As they occur every week, one 
would imagine they could hardly excite so much sen- 
sation ; but, on the days when they take place, the Calle 
Alcala presents a scene of perpetual motion — omnibuses 
and carriages of all sorts and sizes, from the diligences, 
which are not unaptly called " primitivas," to the well 
appointed equipage of the grandee, or the now-disap- 
pearing calessa — all are rushing along in the same direc- 
tion, while foot-passengers crowd the pavements. The 
Plaza at Madrid can accommodate twelve thousand 
persons, and is generally filled. Many of the most noble 
families in Madrid are constant and unfailing attendants 
in the arena ; and many of the ladies, leaders of fashion, 
have lately appeared in the Maja dress, interesting them- 




selves, with enthusiasm, in the respective merits of 
Cuchares and Chiclanero. 

The Plaza itself is the property of the Hospital, which 
is assisted by the proceeds of a spectacle that, according 
to the bitter pen of Jovellanos, " provides it not only 
with money to cure the wounded, but likewise with 
wounded, on which to bestow its money — two indis- 
pensable requisites for the maintenance of such an insti- 
tution." Spaniards turn the lash of their unsparing 
satire against bull-fights, but continue to patronise them 
— even foreigners, who are vehement in denouncing them, 
attracted by the novelty of the scene, seldom fail to 
attend — and the people, faithful to their favourite 
amusement, still flock in thousands to witness the cor- 

Madrid is a great place for spectacle. Processions and 
such things are very handsomely and tastefully arranged. 
I never saw a gayer or more brilliant scene presented by 
any capital than the day when the Queen first went to 
Atocha, in February, 1852, after the dreadful attempt on 
her life which was made by Merino. The Virgin of the 
Atocha is the favourite shrine of the royal family of 
Spain, and the especial object of their veneration ; and to 
this church, which is situated at one end of the Prado, 
the Sovereign always goes on all particular occasions. The 
Queen was about to turn her steps thither after the birth 
of the young Princess of the Asturias, to present her 
daughter in the temple, when the dagger of the criminal 
arrested her steps, and her life was saved almost by a 
miracle. Such a deed struck horror and conster- 
nation into the mind of every Spaniard, introducing 
a fresh, and as yet unknown, crime in the annals of 

Whether he was the agent of a conspiracy, as some 
would still believe, or acted solely upon his own impulses. 



Merino was a rittina; instrument for the commission of 
such an atrocity. His coolness and indifference appeared 
incredible, and there was something awful in the tone 
and manner he exhibited to the very last. Within a 
week from the commission of the crime, he was executed ; 
and many and strange were the rumours then spread 
abroad, and the sad state of intrigue and demoralisation 
of everything connected with the Spanish court and 
government could not have been better illustrated than 
by the reports which then arose. 

It is customary here to place the criminal " en capilla" 
in a small chapel, or a cell arranged as such, for four-and- 
twenty hours before the period of execution, during which 
time he receives all the consolations of religion, and his 
temporal wants are carefully attended to. In the mean- 
time, the brethren of the Paz y Caridad go about the town 
collecting alms for the soul of him who is about to be 
executed, " para hacer bien por el alma del que van a 
ajusticiar," a custom which has been made the theme of a 
most affecting poem by Espronceda. 

When the brethren returned to Merino's cell, and 
the tunic was thrown over him, in which dress he was to 
be led to execution, he said he would not exchange it for 
the mantle of the Caesars. At length the procession left 
the prison to conduct Merino to the scaffold; he was 
mounted according to custom on a donkey, and if the 
account of his speeches while on the road be true, 
no criminal ever exhibited a more appalling instance of 
hardness and indifference. His conversation turned on 
the state of the crops ; he alluded to the fields requiring 
irrigation, and complained that they were going as slowly 
as though it had been the procession of the Corpus, 
which the coldness of the weather made unnecessary. 
His last words denied any accomplices in his crime, 
lie died in the same frame of mind, in the sixty-third 

y 2 



year of his age. His body was burnt, and the dagger 
and everything connected with him, a measure which 
caused much surprise, and was much canvassed at the 

All trace of the assassin had been effaced, when people 
were busily occupied giving their Sovereign a becoming 
welcome after her escape. Immense sums of money we re 
expended on raising triumphal arches along the road she 
was to pass, and admirably they were done ; not small 
insignificant erections similar to those in which we 
indulge, but elegant and well-proportioned arches so 
substantially arranged, that from a distance they appeared 
of solid masonry. Another thing that adds so much to 
the effect of almost all processions abroad, is the hanging 
of the balconies w r ith draperies, which give such a brilliant 
appearance to the streets, and in Madrid they are more 
than usually magnificent. The great houses have their 
arms splendidly embroidered in tapestry thrown over 
each balcony, and all the public offices have canopies 
of crimson velvet and ermine, beneath which is placed the 
Queen's picture, and that of her husband. All these 
costly stuffs give a particularly bright appearance to the 
scene ; and the rise of the ground in the Calle Alcala 
shows off a procession to peculiar advantage. It was a 
beautiful day when the Queen went out to the church of 
the Atocha, now with a double object, not only of presenting 
the child, but likewise of returning thanks for her own 
escape from the dagger of the assassin. I have never 
seen handsomer equipages than the carriages of the 
grandees who accompanied the Sovereign ; the dancing 
plumes upon the horses and the liveries of the footmen 
and runners, all beautifully got up and in keeping, 
presented a magnificent coup-d'ceil. 

The Queen herself appeared with the child in her 
arms, and although the shouts with which she was wel- 


coined were not quite so overpowering as they would 
have been in England, her reception, according to Spanish 
ideas, was most enthusiastic. Flowers and bonbons were 
thrown upon her carriage as she passed along, and 
hundreds of odes, printed on every shade of paper, were 
showered from the windows, testifying the joy of the 
people at seeing her once more amongst them. The line 
of carriages was very numerous, each member of the 
royal family having an empty one following, called a 
" coche de respeto." For three days, fire-works and all 
sorts of rejoicings rapidly succeeded each other, the 
illumination of the great square in front of the palace 
with thousands of coloured paper-lamps glittering on 
trees, was quite a fairy sight. A tournament was 
likewise held in the Plaza de Toros, a most extra- 
ordinary specimen of child's play 7 . The Plaza itself was 
very prettily arranged with banners and all kinds of 
chivalrous devices, but the performances of the knights 
themselves only served to show that in Spain, as nearer 
home, those revivals are a decided failure. 

After the ceremony in the church was concluded, the 
dress worn by the Queen was presented at the shrine of 
the Virgin of the Atocha, and conveyed there in due form 
according to the established etiquette. For several days, 
it was laid out upon the altar for the public to inspect, 
and we joined the throng to see the rent made by Merino's 
dagger. The dress was of cloth of gold, the body and 
mantle of crimson velvet, richly embroidered with the 
castles and lions of Castile and Leon ; and had it not 
been for the thickness of this embroidery, the hand of 
the assassin might have had more fatal effect. The custom 
of the sovereigns of Spain presenting their dresses on 
special occasions to the Virgin of the Atocha has long 
been practised: and another curious custom prevails — the 
dress whieh the Queen wears every year on the Feast of 


the Epiphany, becomes the perquisite of the Conde dc 
Rivadeo, Duke de Hijar, to whose house it is conveyed 
with all due respect. This curious privilege was granted 
by John II. in the year 1441 to the first Count of Rivadeo 
in return for some important services, and thus he and 
his descendants were always to have the dress the 
Sovereign wore upon that festival, and likewise to dine 
at the royal table on that day. His representative still 
receives the dress ; and so far is etiquette carried in Spain 
even now, that when the Sovereign does not wish the 
Duke to perform the other portion of the favour conceded 
to him, she sends in the morning to say she does not dine 
in the Palace. 

The whole style of everything connected with the 
Court in Spain, is on a scale of great magnificence as far 
as outward appearance is concerned. The palace is 
beautifully furnished, and the hall of the ambassadors, or 
the throne-room as we should call it, is gorgeous. The 
Drawing-rooms held by the Queen are called " Besa 
Manos," as all Spaniards kiss hands every time they 
visit the Sovereign, and not only on presentation as 
with us. They are held of an afternoon, the gentle- 
men's Besa manos concluding before that of the ladies' 
begins. Foreigners are more generally presented at 
a private audience, and Spaniards themselves prefer it. 
The Drawing-room here is rather a fatiguing under- 
taking for the Queen, for after the general circle has 
dispersed, all the members of the household, down 
to the lowest dependent in the palace, are admitted 
to kiss her hand. The balls are on a scale of great 
magnificence; and although the Queen's ardour for 
dancing has somewhat abated, she is still passionately 
fond of it, and keeps it up till four or five in the morning, 
her partners finding that the qualification of dancing well 
is a greater recommendation than rank or station. 


3-2 7 

She is now grown immensely stout, and, with the most 
good-natured face in the world, has not certainly any- 
thing to boast of in elegance of manner or dignity of 
deportment. She looks what she is — most thoroughly 
kind-hearted, liking to enjoy herself, and hating all form 
and etiquette ; extremely charitable, but always acting on 
the impulse of the moment, obeying her own will in all 
things, instead of being guided by any fixed principles of 
action. She dispenses money with a lavish hand, while 
her finances are not, by any means, in a flourishing 
condition. Her hours are not much adapted to business- 
like habits — she seldom gets up till four or five o'clock in 
the afternoon, and retires to rest about the same hour in 
the morning. She has one most inconvenient fault for 
a Queen, being always two or three hours behind time. 
If she fixes a Besa manos at two o'clock, she comes in 
about five ; if she has a dinner-party announced at seven, 
it is nine or ten before she enters the room ; and if 
she goes in state to the theatre, and the performances are 
announced for eight, her Majesty makes her appearance 
about ten. 

The interior arrangement of the palace at Madrid, 
would rather excite surprise in the minds of those 
accustomed to the regularity of the English Court. 
Isabel Segunda generally dines alone, and the ladies-in- 
waiting never reside in the palace, only going when they 
are specially summoned. The Queen and her husband 
are now apparently on good terms. He is a most insig- 
nificant-looking little man ; the expression of his coun- 
tenance, however, is not unpleasing, but his figure is 
mean and awkward, a counterpart, in this respect, of his 
father, the Infante Don Francisco de Paula. 

The Court circle is completed by the Queen-mother, whose 
former beauty has now disappeared, as she has grown 
very stout ; but she possesses still the same fascinating 



voice, the same bewitching manner, and the same syren 
smile, which make all w T ho speak to her bow before the 
irresistible charm which she knows so well how to 
exercise. Queen Christina might have worked an im- 
mense amount of good for this unhappy country, had 
she devoted her talents and energies to the improve- 
ment of the nation ; had she exerted her powerful 
influence in a good and noble cause, how much 
might she not have accomplished ! but instead of 
earning a reputation which would have called forth 
the admiration of posterity, she preferred sacrificing 
the interests of the kingdom for the sake of gratify- 
ing her own inordinate love of wealth, and has, in 
fact, proved herself worthy of the family from which she 

Her present husband, the Duke of Rianzares rose from 
a very low rank of life to become the partner of the 
Queen-mother. He is a remarkably fine-looking man. 
and their children quite carry away- the palm of beauty 
among the royal family. The two daughters, who are 
already out, do not appear to be very joyous and happy. 
They seem in fact as though they would enjoy life much 
better, could they escape from the honours and etiquette 
of royalty. The Queen-mother has built rather a hand- 
some house, not far from the palace ; but the rooms are 
too small for reception ; the patio is in Seville style, glazed 
over to suit the climate, and has a charming effect at 
night, when all is lighted up and filled with flowers. 

In Madrid, as in most capitals, there is a great deal of 
society. The corps diplomatique of themselves contribute 
to swell the list of parties. Some few Spanish houses 
receive regularly, but they are rather the exceptions than 
the rule ; one or two brilliant balls being the more general 
amount of their share in the season. The style of dress 
here is very expensive ; even girls almost always wearing 



rich heavy materials, which have not nearly so graceful an 
effect in the ball-room as toilettes of a lighter description. 
There is a splendid show of diamonds, and many very 
pretty faces shine among; the leaders of fashion. 

The Royal Theatre, which has not been completed many 
years, and which was built just opposite the palace, is 
perhaps one of the most magnificent in Europe ; but it is 
unfortunately not well adapted for hearing, rather an 
unlucky quality in an opera-house. It is splendidly fitted 
up, with crimson velvet hangings, and painted in white 
and gold ; the pit is arranged with most comfortable arm- 
chairs, and is much frequented by ladies. It has a very 
fine effect when the Queen goes in state, although spoilt 
in some degree by the state box being on the second tier 
instead of the first. The Italian company, which they 
generally have, is not by any means first-rate. 

There are several theatres in Madrid, and the actors 
remarkably good. Nowhere in Spain can the national 
dances be better seen ; and nowhere but in Spain can they 
be seen to perfection. On other stages the figures may be 
represented, but there is wanting that vigorous grace, that 
elastic step, that sunny fire, which infuse into those dances 
a life and an expression all their own. The dress in the 
Bolera, generally consists of a black velvet body, with 
silver epaulets and long sleeves, with a gay-coloured silk 
petticoat, trimmed with two rows of black lace ; but it 
varies much according to fancy. In the drama, sometimes 
are represented the old plays of Calderon, Lope de Vega, 
and the more comparatively modern ones of Moratin ; but 
they have plenty of authors in the present day to supply the 
public with fresh productions, among the most prolific of 
whom may be mentioned Breton de los Herreros, whose 
light comedies are great favourites with his countrymen. 
Almost all the modern poets have contributed something 
to the drama. 



We went one evening to see " Isabel la Catolica," a 
play of Rubi's, which is much admired, and was originally 
composed to celebrate some fete-day of the present Queen. 
It has but little plot, and is rather a grand spectacle, 
representing the most glorious events in the reign of the 
great Queen. It was made interesting by the admirable 
acting of the principal performers, but it is much better 
adapted for the library. Rubi is well known as the 
author of some charming Andalucian poems, written in the 
dialect of his native province, with all the life and fire of 
the sunny South, and he has likewise composed a great 
many dramatic pieces. Spaniards, having few other 
resources, are very fond of the theatre, and aspirants to 
literary honours, naturally prefer devoting their talents 
to a subject that will be appreciated and admired, than to 
burying them in books, where they will only reach the 
hands of a select few. As yet, there is no reading public 
in Spain ; and how even the few works that are published 
obtain a sale, seems marvellous. 

The state of booksellers' shops, is at once a proof how 
few and insignificant are the demands of the public. 
While all other shops are filled with the richest display of 
goods, those which are devoted to supply the literary 
wants of the population, are of the meanest description ; 
a small shabby entrance, with a dirty counter covered 
with some few volumes, so carelessly sewn together, that 
they almost fall to pieces in your hands, the whole com- 
pleted by a few shelves for books round the walls. If 
any signs of showy binding are to be seen, it is confined 
exclusively to velvet " devocionarios," with all sorts of 
gold and silver clasps, their gay exteriors attracting the 
admiration of the pious. If you inquire for any work 
of which you may have accidentally heard, the probability 
is that, unless it was actually published there, its existence 
has never been heard of ; and if the unaccountable thought 


should enter your head of consulting the worthy book- 
seller, whether any new publication worth reading has 
appeared lately, a most extraordinary look of astonishment 
will welcome so unwonted a question, and he will probably 
assure you, that there has not in fact been any books 
written lately. 

Libraries are not articles to be met with in Spanish 
houses. In olden times, learning and study were confined 
to monastic cloisters, and their inmates were supposed to 
be the only personages fit to trouble themselves with such 
lore ; but in the mansions of the wealthy or the noble 
they were not to be seen. The house we had in Seville 
had suites of apartments and gardens and porticos, but 
the room which they told us had been formerly devoted 
to the library had a few little shelves with a cage-work 
before it, looking more like a larder than anything else. 
Literary men, themselves, have but a small collection of 
books. As to seeing such things about on the tables 
of drawing-rooms, they would be considered untidy, a 
mark of disorder ; and constantly we had to reprove and 
caution our own servants to prevent their carefully con- 
cealing any books we might have lying about the room. 
There are of course some exceptions, and amongst others 
the library of the Duke of Osuna is most beautifully 
arranged and kept in admirable order. In spite of these 
deficiencies, there are, nevertheless, plenty of candidates 
for literary fame, and the mania for translating bad French 
novels is gradually disappearing before the use of a more 
national literature. Most Spanish authors have, at some 
time or another of their existence, been connected with 
the newspaper press, and have suffered exile for their 
politieal opinions. 

The nation sustained a great loss in the early death of 
one of her greatest modern poets, Espronceda. Some of 
his lyric poems are very beautiful, and he would probably 



have left a great claim to the admiration of his country, 
had he not died in the prime of life. A great work which 
he commenced, but which he did not live to finish, con- 
tains many passages of exquisite beauty. The Duke de 
Rivas is another of the poetic celebrities of Spain; his 
tragedy of " Don Alvaro," his imitations of the old ballads 
in his historical romances and many other works, have 
won him a just renown ; and if Espronceda be considered 
by his countrymen as the Byron of Spain, the Duke de 
Rivas may be said to have walked in the steps of Walter 
Scott, in his pretty Moorish tale, written in verse, of the 
" Moro Exposito," founded on the well-known legend of 
the Infantes of Lara. The Duke has a most extra- 
ordinary facility for versification, and unites it with 
an ease and a rapidity which is really surprising, even 
in a language that lends itself so readily to poetical 

The style, however, in which Spaniards always excel is 
satire, that mocking ridicule, that cutting irony which 
spares neither persons nor things, and in which they in- 
dulge with a freedom as galling as it is true. One writer 
of this stamp, Larra, has appeared in this century, and 
under the assumed name of Figaro, has published many 
satirical essays which are much admired. His moody 
temperament, however, brought him to a tragical end, 
and he committed suicide, which is rather an unusual 
occurrence in Spain. His remains were borne to the grave 
by a circle of admiring and sorrowing friends, and after 
the funeral discourse had been pronounced, a youth 
stepped forward and read some lines he had composed for 
the occasion, thus introducing a new name to Spanish 
literature, in the person of Zorrilla, who is now perhaps 
the greatest poet of the present day. His pen is gene- 
rally occupied with the Moorish times, of which he sings 
in glowing numbers. His earliest poetic inspirations were 



imbibed in the romantic soil of Toledo ; and he has ever 
delighted in recording those days in Spanish history when 
Moor and Christian fought against each other ; and the 
melody of his versification is well suited to the themes on 
which he loves to dwell. 

Many more writers might be added to the list; Marti- 
nez de la Rosa, llartzembusch, Ventura de la Vega, Esco- 
sura, and numerous others have contributed to the dramatic 
and poetic literature of the day. There are very few r 
novel-writers, as the swarms of translations from the 
French are amply sufficient to satisfy the taste of that 
class of readers ; but the manners and customs of Madrid 
life have found an illustrator in the satirical and brilliant 
pen of Mesonero de los Romanos. A voluminous history 
of Spain is now being published by Modesto de Lafuente, 
and a translation of Humboldt's " Cosmos " has lately 
appeared. These works show symptoms of improvement, 
and raise the expectation that their literary tastes will be 
directed to more serious studies, and assume a more in- 
tellectual character. These remarks, which give but the 
names of the most celebrated authors of the present day, 
serve merely to show that there are Spanish modern 
writers who have high claims to distinction ; and also 
that those persons are mistaken who deny the advantages 
of learning Spanish, because there is not anything to read 
in the language except Don Quixote. 

Justice has been done to its ancient literature in 
Mr. Ticknor's work, which is now r being translated into 
Spanish, with additional notes and illustrations by Don Pas- 
cual de Gayangos ; but it unfortunately does not extend 
beyond the commencement of the present century, and in 
Spain itself nothing is more difficult than to procure any 
information about literature. Where so few read, it sel- 
dom forms the topic of conversation, and as there are no 
reviews to enlighten the world on the subjects of the day, it 



becomes no easy matter to discover what there is worthy 
of perusal. 

The manual of Madrid contains a goodly list of 
academies, universities, and scientific and literary insti- 
tutions, where the rising talent of the country may be 
led into such channels. In compliance with the spirit 
of centralization which now pervades all departments, the 
great university was removed from Alcala de Henares 
in 1836, and the old college of the Jesuits, in the Calle 
Ancha de San Bernardo, has been devoted to the new 
institution ; and the old halls in Alcala, where the 
great Cardinal Ximenez founded the university in 1508, 
have been allowed to go to ruin. The wisdom of the 
measure, so far as the students are concerned, has been 
questioned, and their fondness for sharing in small 
pronunciamentos has made the Government regret haying 
removed it from the old town where it had so long 
existed. The distance, too, was not so very great as to 
make it inconvenient, it being sufficiently near to Madrid 
for all purposes. A similar desire to that which has so 
long prevailed in Paris, of concentrating everything in 
the capital, is now being carried out here ; the result, how- 
ever, is not the same, for Spaniards never will be brought 
to look upon Madrid in the manner their neighbours 
consider Paris : on the contrary, the capital of their 
own province is their own favourite city, and they only 
turn to Madrid to see what they can gain in place or 
pension by frequenting it for a time. 

Alcala de Henares is only five leagues distant ; and we 
went there on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Ximenez. 
Diligences and omnibuses go backwards and forwards 
twice a day ; and the green trees of the Duke of Osuna's 
country place form some little variety in the monotonous 
neighbourhood of the capital. Alcala itself is a pic- 
turesque old town with its conical Flemish roofs and tall 

CASTILE AM) A \ PA [.!'(' I A. 


spires, surrounded by crumbling walls ; a ridge of sandy 
hills rises behind, presenting no change in colour, but 
offering some variety in form to relieve the eye from 
the dull, flat aspect of the country. The streets all lined 
by low wooden arcades, have a quaint look. We put up 
at a most primitive posada on the Plaza, and forthwith 
proceeded to deliver a letter of introduction Ave had 
brought to a resident, and who, we were assured, knew 
everything that was to be seen. Our friend was not at 
home, but we were shown into the reception-room to 
await his return ; and wonderful to relate there were a 
few books on a shelf, and we rejoiced in the prospect of 
finding something wherewith to while away the time; 
but these pleasant visions were of short duration, for the 
medical tone of the volumes did not promise much 
amusement to people who were hunting after local 

At last the worthy little gentleman arrived, and nothing 
could be more courteous than his manner ; but he assured 
us that he could not be the person meant in the letter, for 
though he should feel much pleasure in showing us every- 
thing, he really did not know what there was to see. We 
-uugested the University, " it was all in ruins ;" we asked 
for the chapel of Ximenez, it was " muy feo" (very 
ugly) : an assertion which when made by a Spaniard, is 
a convincing proof that the object thus designated is 
most especially worthy of the traveller's attention. We 
inquired when we could see these ugly things ; he told 
us on the following day ; and on our assuring him that 
we intended to return to Madrid on the morrow, the 
poor man seemed to think us most unreasonable. Why 
should we be in so desperate a hurry, when there was 
plenty of time to stay and see everything ; he evidently 
did not understand, and doubtlessly came to the conclusion 
that those mad foreigners never can do anything leisurely. 



At length, with a shrug of the shoulders which would have 
been accompanied by an exclamation of " God is great," 
had he been a Moslem instead of a Christian, he told us 
if we were determined to do Alcala that same day, why 
then he would accompany us. 

I felt for him, and duly appreciated his good nature in 
escorting us to see things that were so " muy feo." The 
vandalism of the present century has ignorantly, if not 
wantonly, destroyed this beautiful work of past ages. What 
would be the feelings of Ximenez, could he rise from his 
grave, and see the present state of the fair university, on 
which he spent so much care and wealth ! Here he lived 
during his declining years, and here he used his best 
endeavours to promote the encouragement of learning and 
the success of his favoured university in the town where he 
himself had been educated. He also erected a lovely 
chapel, in which his remains were interred before the 
high altar ; but his burial-place was not respected more 
than the sepulchres of other Spanish heroes in general, 
and a mass of crumbling ruins is all that remains of this 
once elegant temple. 

When the university was removed to Madrid," the 
deserted buildings were disposed of, and many were 
turned into barracks : Alcala being now a great cavalry 
station. The principal college of San Ildefonso was 
sold to a private individual of the name of Quinto, 
who commenced pulling it down ; and when the work of 
destruction Avas considerably advanced, the worthy in- 
habitants began to think they might as well avert the 
impending ruin of the whole, and preserve some memento 
of their past history. Accordingly they repurchased it ; 
but too late to save the chapel of the illustrious founder. 
His beautiful tomb was removed to the cathedral ; and 
sad was the picture of ruin presented to us on entering 
this chapel. The pavement had been torn up, the altar 



removed, all the rich stucco work pulled off from the walls, 
here and there au atom remaining to testify how rich were 
the decorations ; the magnificent artesonado ceiling, with 
large cracks across it, now ready to fall — and all this not 
the effect of time, but of wanton downright destruction ! 
The retablo and the reja have disappeared, and the naked 
walls bear testimony to the ruthless hand that has thus 
unsparingly despoiled them. 

From the chapel we passed into the College of San 
Ildefonso. The deserted patio looks sad and lonely, and 
bears evident marks of the ill-usage it received after it was 
sold. The hall where formerly degrees were conferred 
has a fine ceiling, and the decorations of the galleries 
running round are very rich. The inhabitants of Alcala, 
much to their credit, have had the good taste to place the 
sepulchre of Ximenez in the chancel of the cathedral, an 
old Gothic building. It is a beautiful marble tomb, the 
work of Dominico el Fiorentino, and is surrounded by 
a handsome iron railing. Beneath, a vault has been 
made for the reception of the Cardinal's remains, which 
are now in a leaden sarcophagus, deposited in one of the 
side chapels, awaiting the time when the Archbishop of 
Toledo shall come to preside in person over their transfer 
to the new abode prepared for them. 

And there lies all that remained of the great Cardinal, 
one of the most remarkable men of his age. Stern and 
inflexible in character, he was great not only as a prelate, 
but as a statesman and a soldier ; he was an unyielding 
despot, but guided by the highest and most unerring 
principles ; his honesty and uprightness made him beloved 
and respected by all. His princely fortune was expended 
in doing good to those around him ; and the University of 
Alcala is the offspring of his magnificent encouragement 
of learning. It was in 1 500, that he laid the foundation 
stone of the first college, and for eight years his unceasing 




efforts were devoted to its progress. Established on the 
most liberal scale as far as the course of education was 
concerned, it soon became a favourite resort ; and so great 
was the number of students within twenty years after it- 
opening, that seven thousand came out to receive 
Francis I., when he visited Alcala. Here it was that 
Ximenez welcomed his sovereign Ferdinand of Aragon, 
and showed him with pride the result of his labours 
during his retirement. 

Another great and noble work occupied his leisure 
hours, the preparation of the celebrated Complutensian 
Bible, so called from having been printed here — Com- 
plutum being the ancient name of Alcala. It was a 
princely undertaking ; no expense was spared in the 
collection of the manuscripts, which were entrusted to the 
care of the most learned scholars for arrangement. Thus 
did Ximenes obtain the merit of being the first to compile 
a polyglot version of the Bible ; but what would he have 
said, could he have foreseen how those valuable manuscripts 
would be treated by the heads of the very University he 
had founded with so much trouble, and at so much 
expense ? Towards the end of the last century, when a 
German critic came to Alcala to consult the original 
manuscripts, they were not to be found; the persevering 
German, however, was not to be so easily repulsed, and 
after pursuing his indefatigable research with a diligence 
which deserved a better reward, he discovered, to his bitter 
disappointment, that they had been sold, many years pre- 
viously, by the librarian to a maker of fireworks. 

On leaving this chapel, our little friend took us to see 
what was far dearer to his heart than the ruins of the 
University, a tablet in the Church of Santa Maria, placed 
over the baptismal font, recording that there Cervantes 
was baptized on the 9th of October, 1547. This 
brightest ornament of Spanish literature was born in 



Aleala de Henares, and its inhabitants have been lately 
endeavouring to preserve the mementos of the great 
writer. We went likewise to see the house in which 
he was born. The following inscription has been placed 
over the doorway : 




With honest pride, indeed, may the inhabitants of 
Aleala claim Cervantes as their own, and well is it to 
preserve a souvenir of such a man. The house in which 
he died in Madrid, in the Calle Francos, was pulled down 
some years ago ; but over the new one, erected on the 
same spot, is an inscription, recording that it was once 
the site of his abode, and that he died there in 1616. 
He was buried in the convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas, 
which occupied a different building originally to that 
where it now stands ; and when the nuns were trans- 
ferred to their new habitation, it is supposed his remains 
were likewise removed, but nothing is known of them. 
Such seems to be the fate of all great men in this country. 
The house where Lope de Vega lived and died, is in the 
same street ; and although his remains were carried to the 
Church of San Sebastian, amid great funeral pomp, no 
monument was ever raised to his memory, and his ashes 
have mingled with those of the multitude. In a nei";h- 
bouring street lived Quevedo, who died in poverty. 
Calderon de la Barca is the one who has been most 
honoured in death ; he was buried in the Church of 

z 2 



San Salvador, and a small monument erected to his 
memory, beside which was placed a portrait of him 
painted during life. In 1841, this church was pulled down, 
and the remains of Calderon were transported to the new 
cemetery, outside the gate of Atocha. There is no Poet's 
Corner in a Spanish Cathedral, where the ashes of those 
who have shed lustre on her literature may rest in honour. 

We went to the Primate's palace, where the Archbishops 
of Toledo used formerly to reside four months in the year; 
its square towers, with their leaden spires, imparting a 
peculiar character to its exterior; the inner patio is 
quite lovely, a most exquisite specimen of that style com- 
monly known in Spain by the name of " plataresque," 
where stone is chiselled into forms whose delicacy and 
richness rival the elaborate chasing of the silversmith. It 
was introduced about the commencement of the sixteenth 
century, when the glorious fretwork of Gothic architecture 
was enriched, and added to by Saracenic workmen. The 
" cinque cento," or " renaissance " style then crept in, and 
its plain classic outlines were wreathed with foliage and 
covered with an ornamentation, the detail of which seemed 
almost impossible to be executed in stone. But the effect 
of it is exquisite, as the many filigree facades which adorn 
the old buildings of Castile still attest ; and in the days of 
Philip II. the classic style of Herrera introduced a new 
taste in architecture, and grand massive outlines usurped 
the place of the fairy tracing of the Berruguete school. 
But another architect arose towards the end of the seven- 
teenth century, named Churriguera, who has contrived to 
leave a name identical with the most depraved taste ; his 
overloaded decorations disfigured the interiors of churches, 
and spoiled the elevations of buildings ; and to hear an 
edifice called Churrigueresque, is sufficient to stamp it as 
being in the worst style of art. 

Later still, architecture relapsed into a plainness where 


■A 1 1 

the absence of ornament has been taken for simplicity, 
but where true grandeur and dignity are absolutely want- 
ing. Unfortunately, Madrid contains too many edifices in 
this style, and thus, while every other city abounds in 
matchless specimens of architectural taste, the capital 
taking its rise during the seventeenth century, is not 
enriched with any monument that can reflect credit on the 
fine arts of the Peninsula. After examining all that was 
of interest, we bade farewell to our worthy cicerone, 
without whose kind assistance we should not have found 
our way about so well, and retraced our steps to Madrid 
where we had still much to lionize. 

The palace is a noble building of white stone, occupying 
a commanding situation, and looks very imposing from a 
distance ; it was commenced by Philip V. the ancient 
Alcazar having been burned down. It rises above the 
valley of the Manzanares, whose paltry stream does 
not present a very lively aspect from the windows. 
Bleak and arid is the view over that cheerless land of 
Castile, but in winter the snow-crowmed summits of the 
Guadarramas present a grand boundary to the horizon. 
There are no gardens belonging to the palace ; art has 
not endeavoured to conceal the deficiencies of nature ; a 
small attempt is now being made to lay out something 
approaching to pleasure-grounds in the slopes just below, 
but the want of water renders such an undertaking very 
difficult of accomplishment. The great square called the 
Plaza de Oriente is fine, and contains a noble work of 
art in the centre — the equestrian statue of Philip IV., 
considered one of the finest bronze figures in the world, 
and in truth no pains were spared to render it so. It 
was cast at Florence by Tacca, after a design of Velasquez 
and a model by Montaries. The opera-house is opposite 
to the palace ; and on one side is the national library, 
containing a most valuable collection of upwards of one 



hundred and fifty thousand volumes : the coins too which 
are deposited here are magnificent. 

But perhaps the sight of most general interest in the 
neighbourhood of the royal palace is the armoury. It 
was first arranged by Philip II., who caused the arms to 
be removed from Valladolid for the purpose. It is 
worthy of all the great names Avhose weapons are here 
preserved. A long line of equestrian figures, all in full 
suits of armour, occupy the centre, where they are 
displayed to the best advantage ; while around, trophies 
are placed against the wall, and banners wave from the 
ceiling, overshadowing this most interesting record of 
the past history of Spanish chivalry. And what recol- 
lections are awakened, what thoughts of the past rush 
to one's mind, as the eye glances over the catalogue, a 
carefully compiled volume, and illustrated with short 
sketches of those who are mentioned in its pages. 

The large number of suits of armour, marked as 
belonging to Charles V., call forth astonishment, all 
more or less beautifully chased and elaborately orna- 
mented. This monarch took especial interest in finely- 
wrought armour, and this may account for the variety 
he seems to have collected. His son Philip II. also 
contributes largely ; and the suits around belonged to 
heroes, whose actions are immortalized in the days of 
chivalry. One of the most costly and the most elegant 
is the panoply of Don John of Austria, who died at the 
early age of thirty-three, when he was commanding in the 
Netherlands, not without suspicions, as some historians 
have hinted, of foul play on the part of his brother 
Philip II. 

The armour of the Duke of Alba, of Hernan Cortes, 
and Christopher Columbus, may here be seen. A beautiful 
suit belonged to Garcilaso de la Vega. The gentle and 
knightly poet, whose early death, caused by a wound 



received in scaling the walls of Frejus, spread grief and 
mourning into the ranks of the Emperor's army. There 
is likewise the armour of Juan de Padilla, who headed 
the " eomuneros" when the Castilians rose against 
Charles A'., disgusted with the preponderance of the 
Flemings in the Councils of the State, the bad admin- 
istration of justice, and a thousand other causes of com- 
plaint. Another hero of the same century, who signalised 
himself under the great Captain in the Neapolitan wars, 
was Garcia de Paredes ; he seems to have possessed the 
strength of a Hercules, his most noted achievement having 
been performed at the bridge of Garellano, near Gaeta, 
where aided by only a few soldiers, he killed or put to 
flight four hundred Frenchmen, according to Spanish 

The well-tempered steel of Toledo has ever been highly 
prized, and swords may well be considered among the 
most interesting objects of the collection. Some of those 
in the Armeria Real are supposed to have belonged to 
heroes of almost fabulous renown ; but the compiler of 
the catalogue tights manfully for their authenticity, and 
surely in such cases it is pleasanter to believe than to 
doubt. There is one in particular on which we must 
gaze with reverence ; it is marked as belonging to Pelayo : 
his was the first sword that was bared, not only in defence 
of his country, but of his faith. It is said to have been 
treasured in the sanctuary of Covadunga, in the Asturias, 
until 1775, and then a fire breaking out, and consuming 
the building, the Abbot sent the sword of Pelayo, to 
Charles III., at the same time seeking assistance for the 
reconstruction of the sanctuary. 

And here is another of ancient date with the words 
" Bernardo del Carpio" inscribed — a name which the 
charming poetry of Mrs. Hemans has familiarised to the 
English reader. With Cervantes, we may say, that " of 



the existence of the Cid and Bernardo del Carpio there 
cannot be any doubt, although a great deal may be 
entertained of the wondrous actions they are said to have 
performed." Some archive of the old convent of Santa 
Maria de Aguilar says that Bernardo del Carpio was 
buried there ; and as Charles V. went one day to visit 
his sepulchre, he saw the sword, and took it with him 
to place it in the royal armoury of Madrid. 

Not far off is the Colada, the trusty sword, which the 
Cid Ruy Diaz won in battle from a Count of Barcelona ; 
and here may be seen the one belonging to Suero de 
Quiiiones, the hero of one of the most celebrated chival- 
rous exploits of the fifteenth century. Wishing to release 
himself from the infliction of an iron collar that he wore 
round his neck, every Thursday in token of captivity to 
his lady-love, he held the bridge of Orbiga between 
Astorga and Leon for thirty days against all comers. 
He was assisted by nine knights in this " paso honroso," 
as it is called in Spanish history. The case containing 
these swords possesses others of even more renown, 
those of St. Ferdinand, Ferdinand, Isabella, Boabdil, 
Gonzalo de Cordoba, Pizzaro, and others whose names 
have won an immortal place on the page of history. 
The sword which belonged to Francis I. when he was 
taken prisoner at Pavia is now no longer here ; it was 
given up by Ferdinand to Napoleon, who thus parted with 
one of the proudest trophies of Spain's past glory ; a 
fac-simile has been taken of it recently by order of the 
King, and occupies the place formerly held by the original. 

Amongst other objects of interest are two bronze axe- 
heads, or " celts," as they are sometimes called, found in 
an excavation made in Galicia, where such weapons have 
often been discovered, as well in stone as in bronze. It 
would be useless to enumerate the various objects of 
beauty and of interest contained in this collection ; to the 



admirers of ancient armour it affords a rich treat, as well 
as to those who feel a pleasure in looking at objects which 
have belonged to celebrated characters. There is also 
another very interesting museum in Madrid belonging to 
the artillery. 

The Plaza Mayor, or more properly speaking, Plaza de 
la Constitucion — although in Madrid the people have 
sense enough to call it by the former name, which is 
shorter and more to the purpose — is a handsome square 
surrounded by colonnades, and its lofty houses, with 
balconies running round each story, give it great uni- 
formity. The only exception is the large building 
called the Panaderia Real, from the balconies of which 
the royal family witness the great fetes that are 
occasionally celebrated in this Plaza. Of what varied 
events has this square been the theatre, since the days 
when it was completed in the reign of Philip III. 
The first grand procession it witnessed was the cele- 
bration of the beatification of San Isidoro, the patron 
of Madrid. Tournaments, executions, fetes and festivals, 
and autos-de-fe, have all been alike celebrated in its ample 
enclosure. Here in 1812, triumphal arches were erected 
to receive the Duke of Wellington, and here it was that 
three days after his public entry into Madrid the con- 
stitution was proclaimed, the Plaza duly christened, and 
the marble slab located in its proper place, on the balcony 
of the Panaderia Real. In 1814 the stone was removed, 
and Ferdinand received with shouts of triumph as abso- 
lute Sovereign. Again replaced in 1820 ; in 1823 it 
was torn down by the French troops, when, as the poet 

Para hollar la libertad sagrada 
El principe borron de nuestra historia, 
Llamo en su auxilio la francesa espada 
Que segase el laurel de vuestra gloria. 



The words Plaza Real remained in peace for some 
years, while the blood of Torrijos and others flowed upon 
the scaffold ; but it disappeared again, when the Queen- 
mother found that advocating the constitution was the 
only means of establishing her daughter's throne. And 
there it stands at present waiting till some new revolution 
shall introduce some other favoured name to the Spanish 
people. The story of these little tablets in the Plazas of 
the Peninsula proclaim a strange lesson on the instability 
of their forms of government. 

The royal bull-fights, which form part of any great 
festivities here, are always celebrated in this Plaza ; they 
were held with great pomp on the marriage of the Queen 
and her sister, the Infanta. On these occasions the 
killing of the bull is performed by gentlemen, " caballeros 
en plaza," who mounted on beautiful horses, and dressed 
in the old Spanish costume, attack the bull and kill him ; 
the professional " toreros" being in the arena ready to assist 
in case of emergency. The square, which is supposed to 
accommodate fifty thousand spectators, presents on these 
occasions a magnificent spectacle. 


El convento 
* * * * 

dcscuclla dcsicrto, solo, 
desmautelado, en niinas. 
No por la niano del ticmpo, 
aunquc cs obra muy antigua, 
sino por la infanie niano 
de revueltas y codicias. 







We have taken but a hasty glance at the chief objects 
of interest in Madrid, but the most remarkable of all 
is the national gallery of pictures, which is, perhaps, 
unrivalled in Europe. Treasures of art are preserved 
in this Museum, which it would occupy months to 
appreciate, and examine with the care and attention 
they deserve. There are nearly two thousand paintings, 
and specimens of all the great masters of art adorn the 
walls, with a profusion which no other gallery can excel. 



The wealth of Spain, at a time when painting was at its 
height, enabled her Sovereigns to command all the choicest 
works that could be obtained ; and the taste and patronage 
evinced by the rulers of the House of Austria present 
a bright feature in their character. It displayed itself 
not only in the Imperial Charles, but serves to illume 
with a softening ray the morose despotism of his 
successor ; and Philip IV. not only collected treasures 
of foreign art, but he had in his own country a galaxy of 
talent led by the pencils of Murillo and Velasquez. 

This gallery owes its existence to Ferdinand VII., who 
contributed the necessary funds for its formation, after 
the idea had been suggested by his Queen Maria Isabel of 
Braganza. Until this period, these countless gems of art 
had been scattered through the numerous palaces of the 
Sovereign ; but now they were collected in this edifice, 
which had been erected in the days of Charles III. for a 
museum of natural history. The building stands on the 
Prado ; the exterior is tasteless and heavy, and the interior 
is not so well adapted as it might be for the display of 
the treasures which adorn its walls. Still the centre 
gallery is a noble room, and well lighted ; it is devoted 
to the Italian school, while the Spanish paintings are 
arranged in two large rooms on either side of the 
circular entrance hall. To these, the traveller naturally 
turns, more particularly should his time be limited : the 
productions of the Italian and Flemish masters may be 
studied in the galleries of other European capitals, but 
it is in the metropolis of Spain alone that the pictures 
of her artists can be duly appreciated. Even this gallery 
is incomplete, as far as an historical illustration of Spanish 
art might be expected, and many painters of renown in 
their native provinces have no works to represent them 
in the National Museum. 

Spanish art offers many peculiar features that give it 



quite a distinct character from painting in Italy. No one 
who has ever even cursorily examined the works of 
artists in the Peninsula, can fail to be struck with the 
deeply religious tone pervading them. Painting here was 
truly the handmaiden of religion, and served to bring 
home to the mind of the Spaniards the various incidents 
of Scriptural events. On the walls of their churches, and 
over their favourite shrines, it spoke to them in a language 
plain even to the illiterate. The scenes there depicted, 
required no abtruse explanations, and the preacher had 
onlv to point from his pulpit to the canvas before him, 
on which were portrayed the sufferings of the Redeemer, 
the scenes in the life of his Virgin-mother, the miracles 
and the martyrdom of the Saints — in order to present a 
ready and a practical illustration of the doctrines he was 
seeking to enforce. 

The long religious wars which called every nerve of 
Spaniards into action in the sacred cause of Faith — the 
long-continued presence of the Infidel at their very doors, 
clothed everything in Spain with the mantle of religion, 
and gave a tinge to the character of the inhabitants and 
the institutions of the country, for which it would be 
difficult to find a parallel resemblance in any other 
European nation. It was to place the Cross upon the 
towers of her cities, that her armies were led to victory ; 
it was the banner of the Cross, that drew around it the 
various kingdoms, into which she was divided, inducing 
all to merge their differences, and unite in holy crusade 
against the Moslem ; it was for spiritual, and not for tem- 
poral aggrandizement they fought — it was to the service of 
the Church that the first-fruits of victory were offered, and 
the first produce of the wealth of a newly-discovered world 
was dedicated to her service. The earliest efforts of the 
dramatists were devoted to mysteries, illustrating religious 
subjects ; the finest architectural monuments were erected 



for the mansions of her followers, and the worship of her 
faith ; and to adorn her temples and her cloisters, the 
hands of the painter and the sculptor exerted the triumphs 
of their genius. This character has stamped everything 
in the Peninsula ; and the Catholics of Spain might well 
look back with pride to the time, when all other things 
were considered secondary, as compared to the advance- 
ment of their faith and the triumph of their religion. 

This tone of feeling which influenced the whole nation, 
was strengthened with a sad and gloomy severity when 
the Inquisition came into force, and sought to bind with 
all the trammels of discipline the genius which was eager 
to expand in the service of the Church. The strictest 
rules were laid down for the observance of artists, when 
treating of sacred subjects ; the study of the human figure 
from models was forbidden, and the artist was obliged to 
seek for instruction in the works of his predecessors. 
The manner in which the great Italian masters handled 
religious subjects, offended the sterner morality of the 
Spaniards, who followed with due submission the rules 
laid down for their observance. 

One remarkable difference is most striking in the 
treatment of pictures of the Virgin ; and the admirer 
of painting in this country looks in vain for those 
beautiful feet in representations of the Mother of Our 
Lord, which form so exquisite a feature in the Italian 
paintings. In pictures of the Immaculate Conception, 
the favourite subject of Spanish artists, she is drawn 
standing on a crescent, dressed in blue and white, while 
the feet are always studiously concealed by flowing 
draperies. Even the custom of painting the Nativity 
without clothing the Child was thought worthy of 
reprehension; and many a dispute was carried on with 
regard to the propriety of portraying the Saviour on the 
Cross, attached by four nails instead of three. Rules were 



established for the representation of angels, and all the 
accessories of sacred subjects. Besides these chains 
which fettered genius and restrained the free exercise of 
the imagination, many of the painters themselves were of 
a most religious turn of mind, and prepared for the 
execution of their works by prayer and penance, while 
some even belonged to the Church whose temples they 
employed themselves in decorating. Cano, Roelas, and 
(Yspedes occupied stalls in the cathedral towns where 
they resided, and others of inferior note belonged to the 
monastic orders. Many followed their profession with 
so much pious enthusiasm, that they believed in the 
a -distance of inspiration from on high ; and the creations 
of their pencil were supposed to have been only the 
realization of visions, which had appeared to encourage 
them in the prosecution of their labours. 

All these circumstances combined, have contributed to 
uive a sombre cast to Spanish painting, and nowhere is it 
more striking than at Madrid where the halls that are 
hung with the productions of her artists, are in such close 
proximity to the gallery which glows with the profane 
beauties of Titian, and the bright and elegant creations 
of the Italian school. Here also may be seen the pictures 
of many whose works are little known beyond the 
Pyrenees; here may be studied the friars of Zurbaran, 
whom Philip IV. called " Pintor de los Reyes y Rey de 
los Pintores ;" the productions of Juan Joanes, the great 
artist of Valencia, whose paintings bear more the character 
of Italian art than those of his countrymen in general; 
specimens of El Mudo, of the divine Morales, the great 
painter of Estremadura, of Ribalta, of Cano, the portraits 
of Cloello, and of Pantoja de la Cruz ; and some splendid 
paintings of the great Ribera, whose disagreeable but 
powerful style is better known in Italy than that of other 
Spanish artists, for he resided long in Naples, where few 



galleries are without some tribute from his studio, marked 
with the name of Spagnoletto. 

Above forty paintings by Murillo adorn the walls of 
this museum ; among them are two lovely Conceptions, 
floating in that glorious atmosphere which Murillo alone 
could paint, the joyous cherubs playing in the clouds 
amid which one can almost see them move, so aerial do 
they appear. The beauteous productions of Murillo may, 
however, be studied to as much advantage in his own 
native town, and the eye may turn from the golden colour- 
ing of this great artist to the canvas of another son of 
Seville, and rest on the sober tones of Velasquez. Only 
in Madrid can the works of this great painter be seen in 
all their glory, here he stands unrivalled, and above sixty 
pictures by his hand arrest the attention of the traveller. 

Velasquez is an exception to the general remarks I 
have before made on Spanish art. For a wonder, his 
pencil was not dedicated to the service of the Church ; he 
seldom painted religious subjects, and if he did, he 
generally failed in the attempt. He painted what he 
saw ; man was his favourite study, and as a ^portrait 
painter, Velasquez stands almost without a rival. He 
was born in Seville in 1599, and early showed a love of 
art; he studied first under Herrera, whose academy he 
deserted for that of Pacheco, and devoted himself to the 
study of subjects from nature, painting many " bode- 
zones," as pictures of still life are termed here. Velasquez 
in course of time visited Madrid, and was soon after 
appointed one of the painters to the King. His pencil 
was occupied in delineating the dull features of the 
members of the Austrian house ; and the King was so 
charmed with his portraits, that he would not allow any 
other artist to represent him on the canvas. 

Twice Velasquez visited Italy ; and on his return the 
second time in 1651, he was appointed " Aposentador 


Mayor." an office which gave him the superintendence 
of all Court ceremonials, and many duties to perform in 
the royal household. The last important scene in which 
he was engaged, and for which he had much to prepare, 
was the celebrated meeting on the Bidassoa, when 
Louis XIV. came to claim the hand of his bride, the 
Infanta Maria Theresa: and that marriage was solemnized 
which eventually transferred the crown of Spain to the 
house of Bourbon. Shortly after his return to Madrid 
he was taken ill, and died in 1660 in the sixty-first year 
of his age. 

It would be difficult to particularise the works of 
Velasquez ; all are beautiful ; all deserve an attentive 
study. When were ever equestrian figures painted such 
as his ? The Surrender of Breda is a noble painting, 
and the subject more advantageous than those on which 
the pencil of Velasquez generally dwelt, for certainly 
neither the Austrian family themselves nor their dwarfish 
attendants could inspire much enthusiasm in the artist; 
and the strange, stiff, ungainly fashions then in vogue 
only added to the natural want of beauty exhibited in the 
faces. And yet in this, perhaps, is the greater triumph 
for the artist, and he has indeed achieved one in the 
" Meninas," the far-famed picture which represents the 
Infanta Margarita, her pages, and her hideous dwarfs. 
The artist has here introduced his own picture, and it 
was on this portrait of himself that Philip IV. is said to 
have conferred the honour of knighthood ; coming in 
one day when the picture was finished, he remarked 
that it was not yet complete, and painted the cross of 
Santiago upon the breast of the artist ; a courteous 
homage paid by rank to the supremacy of talent. And 
such things were not rare in the princes of this house ; 
the many speeches of Charles V. to Titian are well 
known, and duly chronicled. Philip II. loved the society 

A A 



of artists, and Philip IV. sought repose from the cares of 
state in the studio of Velasquez. 

The Italian and Flemish schools offer a perfect wilderness 
of paintings — all choicest specimens of their respective 
artists. Here the canvas glows with the heavenly 
Madonnas of Raphael, and the more earthly beauties of 
Titian ; all the greatest names of Italy are assembled in 
this noble gallery, and above sixty pictures by Rubens 
are memorials of his visit to Madrid. To notice even 
the most celebrated of these productions would fill a 
volume, and this gallery must be visited and revisited 
many, many times by those who care to dwell upon its 
beauties. It is alone worth a pilgrimage to Madrid. 

One or two more galleries in Madrid are deserving of 
notice ; one belonging to the Academia de San Fernando 
in the Calle Alcala contains two or three of the chef- 
d'ceuvres of Murillo, and numbers of inferior paintings. 
The celebrated one known as the "Tinoso," representing 
St. Isabel of Hungary curing the sick, is a noble painting, 
but the disagreeable reality of the wounds makes it very 
disgusting, and most unpleasant to look at. The two 
other pictures, by the same artist, were formerly in one of 
the Seville churches, and with the Santa Isabel took a trip 
to Paris, and returned after 1815. They represent the 
vision which appeared to a Roman patrician, relative to 
the building of Santa Maria Maggiore, and nothing can 
be more beautiful than the delineation of the sleeping 
Roman, or the Madonna appearing in the clouds. This 
academy is in a most delightful state of disorder ; pictures 
are crowded upon the walls, and packed into every corner, 
and all the rooms are filled and choked up with rubbish, 
looking as though they were never opened, unless some 
stranger sought to have a peep at their contents. 

They have a botanical garden in Madrid upon the 
Prado, not far from the picture-gallery ; the plants are 



arranged upon the Linnsean system, and it is under the 
direction of a Scotchman, who docs not seem very much 
impressed with the enthusiasm displayed in this country 
for flowers. It is, however, an ornament to the Prado, 
with its cast-iron railings surrounding the shady walls, and 
looks green and refreshing. The palace of the Dukes of 
Medina Celi stands on the Prado at the end of the Carrera 
San Geronimo. Some of the palaces of the grandees are 
splendid in point of size, hut nothing can be plainer than 
the exterior. How different to the palaces of the old Italian 
nobles on the banks of the Arno ! The gardens of the 
Buen Retiro, one of those numerous palaces which the 
sovereign possesses close to the capital, likewise skirt 
the Prado; they are considered by the Spaniards the 
ne pins ultra of perfection ; and as things always go by 
comparison, anything in this country approaching to a 
garden is welcome to the eye. 

On the Prado a granite obelisk may be seen peering 
through the trees, raised to commemorate one of the most 
important events in the history of this century. It covers 
the ashes of the victims of the celebrated Dos de Mayo, 
when the first signs of resistance to the French appeared, 
and the first blood flowed in defence of their country. 
It was after Murat had established himself in Madrid, 
and Ferdinand had been entrapped into visiting Bayonne, 
that the Infante Don Antonio, the only member of the 
royal family yet left in Spain, was ordered to leave 
Madrid. His departure was arranged for the 2nd of 
May, but when the carriage drove up which was to 
convey from the country the last remnant of their 
royal family, the full meaning of the French schemes, the 
consciousness that they had been betrayed, seem to burst 
upon the inhabitants, and a general movement took place. 
Seizing on any arms they could command, undaunted by 
the French troops which then occupied the capital, they 

a a 2 


attacked their enemies, and fought with a desperation 
which proved the valour of the people, and showed how 
they could fight if they were only worthily commanded. 
One young man named Velarde headed the people, and 
persuaded a fellow-countryman of the name of Daoiz, who 
was in command under the French, to hold his post for 
the Spaniards ; he did so, and with the few cannon they 
had at their disposal they defended themselves, with all 
the desperation of madness, against the overpowering 
force of Murat. They died at their post, the first who 
protested with their lives against the dominion of the 

The streets of Madrid were deluged with blood, but 
the vengeance of Murat was not satisfied. On the follow- 
ing day all that were found with arms in their hands were 
led to execution ; hundreds breathed their last upon the 
scaffold erected in the Prado, and the Puerta del Sol ; 
but the brutality of the French recoiled upon themselves ; 
the dying groans of the victims of the 2nd of May found 
an echo in the hearts of their countrymen, and deep and 
deadly vengeance was sworn against the oppressor. The 
events of this day are graven on the hearts of the 
Spaniards, and the Dos de Mayo is still celebrated as 
a national festivity. This small obelisk commemorates 
it in Madrid ; and in Seville, the native city of Daoiz, a 
tablet to his memory was last year placed in the city 
walls, opposite the house where he had lived. 

We visited Madrid twice, but paid such flying visits, 
that Ave had but little time to see more than the usual 
routine of sight-seeing, and take a passing glance at the 
society and gaieties of the Court. It Avas in the autumn 
of 1852 that we were last there, and Averc anxious to 
undertake our journey through Castile before the season 
got more advanced. 

We left Madrid by the diligence at five in the morning. 


the road as dreary as is usual in the Castiles. The 
aspect, however, gradually changed; we passed the 
remains of a fine Franciscan convent, situated amid a 
wilderness of oaks, and then descended on an extensive 
plain, in the centre of which stands the village of 
Lozoyuela, where we dined, and a most wretched place 
it was. The next stage was Buitrago, a pretty village on 
the hanks of the little stream Lozoya. Its fine old w T alls 
and ruined towers show it to have been a town of import- 
ance in by-gone days. We soon approached the pass of 
Somosierra, or the Puerto, as they call these mountain 
passes in Castile. 

It began to pour with rain, warning us that we were 
already in more northern lands, and the autumnal tints 
on the oak woods, with the wet leaves strewn thickly 
upon the ground, reminded one of home. In the south 
the leaves dry up and die almost upon the trees, but they 
do not assume those rich-changing hues which lend such 
a charm to forest scenery in damper climates. The thick 
mists prevented our seeing much of the mountains ; on 
the summit of the pass Old Castile is entered. It was 
night long before we reached Aranda ; the weather 
cleared up, and the moon shone in all its brilliancy as 
soon as we entered upon the plains. 

Aranda is a small town, situated on the Duero. 
The facade of the great church is beautiful. The 
portal is most elaborately worked in the rich Gothic of 
ihf time of the Catholic Sovereigns, whose arms and 
badges are carved in stone ; the interior is plain, but it 
has a fine retablo. The houses, with their wooden 
colonnades, are picturesque, but falling to decay. The 
convent of the Dominicans has become a ruin, nothing- 
except the outer walls remaining. At Aranda we left 
the diligence, and taking horses rode to Penaranda, about 
three hours distant. We passed through a flat cultivated 



country, but some of the villages presented a ver\ 
picture of misery and wretchedness, and the dirt was 
excessive. The women appeared never to have heard 
of the existence of such an article as a comb ; such a 
contrast to the rich and carefully arranged hair of the 
Andalucian peasants. Arrived at Penaranda, we were 
most hospitably received by the agent of the Countess of 
Montijo, to whom the place belongs. There are no inns 
in these unfrequented Castilian towns, but genuine hos- 
pitality is exercised by those who can afford it, and 
such a welcome is no uncommon thing in a count rj 
where roads are scarce and travellers few, but soon it 
disappears before the advance of railroads, and increased 
means of communication. I have before had reason to 
bear witness to the invariable kindness of Spaniards under 
such circumstances, and throughout Castile we received 
the same attentions, which had already welcomed us in 
the mountains of Andalucia. 

We were unfortunately rather late in the season, and 
the wretched weather, which had greeted us as we 
crossed Somosierra, followed us throughout our journey, 
preventing us from seeing many places we had intended 
visiting. It detained us two days under the hospitable 
roof of our entertainers, where we lived, of course, in 
the primitive style still practised in these retired places. 
In the morning we partook of a cup of that delicious 
thick chocolate, which can only be enjoyed in Spain ; 
followed, by the usual glass of water with its sugary 
accompaniments. These " azucarillos," as they are gene- 
rally called, are made of sugar and white of egg, and 
when put into a glass of water, dissolve and give it a 
refreshing taste. At one or two o'clock we dined ; about 
six in the afternoon, we had again a cup of chocolate, 
and at nine a regular supper ; in the evening our circle 
was increased by the clergyman of the parish, and one or 



two acquaintances of the family who dropped in. The 
house where we were staying, was in the Plaza ; on one 
side of which stood the old mansion of the Counts of 
Miranda, Dukes of Periaranda, and opposite a charming 
group of old tumble-down houses, the wooden work of 
the walls being filled up with every variety of brick and 
baked mud, forming a perfect picture for an artist. 
Behind rose the old towers of the castle, and to the 
right was the church, a large building in the Gothic 
style. The old castle must have presented a formidable 
appearance in ancient times ; its long line of w r alls are 
now, however, in a very dilapidated condition. It was 
taken from the Moors in the twelfth century. 

The more modern mansion of its proprietors is a very 
remarkable building, erected in the sixteenth centmy. 
Its facade is built with regular courses of rough stones, 
with a most elaborate doorway, surmounted by the arms 
of the family, and a bust of Hercules cnwvning the 
whole. The windows are likewise richly ornamented, 
each surmounted by a different coat of arms. Its external 
appearance bears the same stamp of desolation, as the 
interior of the building. Its fine patio is now used as 
a stable, the balustrades of its splendid staircase have 
disappeared, and its nobly carved w T ooden ceiling nearly 
all fell within the last few years. Enough remains, how- 
ever, to impress the mind with an idea of its former 
magnificence. A long suite of rooms, now used as 
granaries, still retain their superb ceilings, wdiich imitate 
in dark wood the rich stalactite work of the Alhambra, 
while the cornices and frieze which run round the walls 
also show that taste for arabesque ornaments, which in 
those days mingled itself with the Gothic. 

Near the entrance to the Plaza stands a fine old 
Gothic cross, answering to our market-crosses in England. 
Here they are called " rollos," and are signs of the 


jurisdiction of the lords of the village. The country 
people were all busily engaged at this season getting in 
their abundant vintage; the surplus produce of each 
year has to be thrown away, in order to make room for 
the new supply. There are no means of transporting it, 
and besides so little care is bestowed upon its manufacture, 
that it would neither be worth the trouble nor the expense. 

The extreme poverty of the inhabitants of a land whose 
soil produces such rich harvests of corn and wine, offe r- 
a subject for much reflection. Castile is one of the finest 
corn countries in Europe ; provisions may be obtained for 
a mere nothing; potatoes cost six cuarts the arroba 
(about a penny three farthings for twenty-five pounds of 
our measure) ; bread two cuarts per pound, and so on in 
proportion. The population is very scanty, quite insuffi- 
cient for the area of ground they occupy ; the people have 
plenty to eat, and yet the wretchedness and poverty can 
scarcely be surpassed. They seem to have no interest 
in improving themselves, and there is no one to look 
after or encourage them to exertion, and rouse the latent 
energy of the once noble Castilian character. They are 
likewise in the lowest state of ignorance ; there arc 
scarcely any schools, and the absence of all facilities of 
communication renders each village isolated and alone. 

This portion of the country was much desolated by the 
civil wars ; and in the house in which we were staying, 
Don Carlos slept when he was pursued by Espartero, in 
1836, who was glad to avail himself of the shelter that 
had been afforded to his enemy, and slept in the same bed 
on the following night. We bid adieu to our kind 
friends at Penaranda, our host himself accompanying us 
part of our day's journey. The weather was most unpro- 
mising, but we rode on over an undulating country ; and 
it was impossible to resist smiling, when, on meeting a 
fine flock of sheep, our host informed me they were all 


my own. as he placed them at my disposal in true Spanish 
fashion. At length we passed the village of Arandilla, 
and on the road our attention was drawn to one of 
those wooden crosses, erected to mark the site where 
murders have been committed ; here, how ever, it records 
the capture and execution of a Guerilla chief, a partizan 
of Don Carlos, who infested this country some years ago. 

Just before entering Coruna del Conde, a village 
crowned with a pretty ruined castle belonging to the 
Belgida family, you pass a small church built with 
stones taken from the ruins of the ancient city of 
Clunia. The tiles employed here are of a reddish hue, 
which gives a bright tone of colour to the village when 
seen from a distance ; and the large bee-hive chimneys 
-tamp them with a very peculiar character. On leaving 
Coruna we descended some very barren hills, on the 
summit of which stood Clunia ; there are but few 
remains of this old Roman city, here and there traces 
of old walls are visible, and some years ago a mosaic 
pavement was discovered, but it has been nearly 
covered over. The view from the platform, on which 
stood the town, is most commanding, embracing an 
immense extent of country. On the northern slope, 
as you descend into the valley, are the remains of a 
theatre, the seats of which are still preserved ; they 
are formed out of the solid rock. Not very long ago 
a marble statue and some weapons had been dis- 
covered in the plain below r , and sent to Burgos. 

"We now descended upon the village of Penalva de 
Castro, which is almost entirely built of old Roman 
stones. The walls round the church and the streets, 
if so they can be called, are choked up with huge blocks, 
covered w ith all sorts of inscriptions turned upside down, 
and in every variety of position. A small stone cross, 
a rollo. is made out of the shaft of an old Corinthian 



column. We lunched here, and during the repast, which 
had been placed in our alforjas by the forethought of our 
friends at Peilaranda, many of the peasants brought us 
coins and entaglios for sale ; the latter were few in 
number, and very bad in quality ; they asked the most 
exorbitant prices, and were very independent, taking 
them away immediately when they found we were not 
to be so easily imposed upon. We bought two or three 
coins as a souvenir. We now bid adieu to our kind 
host of Periaranda, who had escorted us thus far on 
our road to Silos. 

We rode along through oak woods, interspersed with 
tall pines, while the cistus, juniper, and several varieties 
of heath, formed the thickest underwood. After passing 
the village of Arruazo, the road leads over such a 
delightful carpet of verdure until you arrive at a rocky 
glen ; here the scenery was lovely, and we wound along 
amid the grey stones and bright foliage until we 
descended upon Doiiasantos, another collection of mud 
hovels. Here rivulets stream dow r n through every ravine, 
and the broken and mountainous character of the country 
was quite a relief to the eye after the interminable plains 
of the two Castiles. From Doiiasantos we rode on to 
Peiiacoba, which lies nestled at the base of tall white 
cliffs, with a large green sward in front, crossed by a 
purling brook, and overshadowed by forest trees. We 
skirted this village, which, at that distance, reminded us 
much of England. 

After winding some time over barren heights, we saw 
the red roofs of Silos, and the large white building of its 
convent lying in a valley far below us. Through the 
kindness of a friend in Madrid, we had been well pro- 
vided with letters of introduction for our tour, and very 
useful we found them. The parish priest of Silos gave 
us a warm welcome in his ruined habitation. We were 


ushered into a Large and comfortless room, where he sat 
in a stiff arm-chair behind a table covered with old worm- 
eaten books. There were a few bookcases and engrav- 
ings of religious subjects round the walls ; amongst 
others one of the late Bishop of Cadiz, who had once 
been Abbot of Silos. His bed was in a small alcove, 
and he had another inner room, where he kept many 
books and manuscripts. A small lamp shed a gloomy 
light over the apartment. We were lodged in one of 
the cells ; and one might have expected to see the 
ghost of some Benedictine monk pacing the deserted 
corridor out of which our habitation opened. We had 
capital beds, and the chocolate prepared by the hands 
of a nice good-natured little girl, who acted as servant, 
was quite delicious. 

The convent of Santo Domingo de Silos claims to have 
been founded in the sixth century by Recaredo, the 
Gothic King who abjured the Arian heresy, and did so 
much to promote Christianity within his dominions. 
Already possessed of considerable fame, large grants 
of land were conferred upon the monks by that hero of 
early Castilian history, the Great Conde Fernan Gonzalez. 
The superiors of this convent exercised a jurisdiction of 
life and death, until these rights were sold by one of the 
abbots to the Conde de Haro in 1431. The monks 
protested, in the reign of John II., against such an aban- 
donment of their privileges, and it was finally arranged by 
the family of the Count paying them an annual tribute 
of one thousand three hundred and sixty reals, and as 
many maravedis. This establishment belonged to the 
Benedictine order, who founded their first monastery in 
Spain, in the Rioja, at the San Millan de Cogulla, and 
hence came the saint to whom that of Silos was to owe 
its renown. 

Santo Domingo de Silos must be distinguished from the 



far-famed Santo Domingo, who preached the crusade 
against the Albigenses, and whose followers lighted the 
fires of the Inquisition. The former was only a humble 
shepherd in the Rioja, a native of Can as, near Najera. 
He first became a hermit, and then entered the Abbey of 
San Millan de la Cogulla, of which he ultimately became 
the superior. More than once he resisted the encroach- 
ments of Garcia, King of Navarre, who sought to lay 
heavy impositions on the convent. On one occasion the 
church plate was demanded, which the Saint at last 
promised to have ready to deliver up to him on a certain 
day. When Garcia appeared, he found the Host mani- 
fested on the altar, upon which all the treasures of the 
church were displayed, and Santo Domingo informed him, 
he might take them if he chose; but his sacrilegious 
hands did not dare to touch the wealth thus guarded. 
Santo Domingo was, however, disgraced and removed 
from the priory, and subsequently he sought refuge at 
Burgos. The fame of his piety had preceded him, and 
Ferdinand I., Sovereign of Castile, received him with 
open arms, and shortly after made him Abbot of Silos, in 
the year 1046. He ruled the convent for two-and-thirty 
years, during which period, it is said, he worked innu- 
merable miracles, and dying in 1073, was subsequently 
canonized by Urban II. 

The line of abbots continued without intermission, until 
the final destruction of the religious orders in 1835, when 
Silos shared the fate of the remaining monastic establish- 
ments. At that period, our host, Don Rodrigo Echevarria, 
the last abbot, was made curate of the parish; and he 
still resides in his old convent, amid the solitude of its 
lonely and deserted halls. 

The exterior does not present any architectural beauty ; 
it is a heavy pile of buildings, with an enormous church 
erected towards the close of the last century. The walls 



arc bare and whitewashed, and in the centre a slab 
marks the burial-place of the patron saint ; he was 
removed here from the cloister, where he had been 
originally interred. An iron gate leads into the sacristy, 
and beyond is a small private chapel ; the walls are hung 
round with massive chains, the offerings of Christian 
captives, who had been released from prison by the 
miracles or the prayers of the saint. The rejas and other 
iron-work of the building were made out of chains thus 
procured ; many have disappeared, but the number sent 
as votive offerings was so great that it became a proverb 
in Spain, when a person required an inordinate quantity 
of anything, " No te bastaran los hierros de Santo 
Domingo," (the chains of Saint Dominick could not 
suffice 3011). Some pictures representing his miracles 
still remain upon the walls, but there is not anything 
remarkable in an artistic point of view. 

From this chapel, a richly ornamented Gothic portal 
leads into the cloisters, the great object of interest 
which this edifice still retains. They must be of con- 
siderable antiquity, and are generally supposed to be of 
the tenth or eleventh century, although there is not any 
authentic record of the date of their erection. They form 
a large quadrangle, ninety-two feet by one hundred and 
seven. The round-headed arches are supported by double 
columns, not more than six feet high. Their elaborately 
sculptured Byzantine capitals are exquisite, and display an 
endless variety of design, scarcely any two resembling 
each other. Seventeen double columns adorn two of the 
sides, and fifteen on the others ; the centre group of 
columns on each side, differing from the remainder, and 
consisting of four and even five, most singularly twisted. 
The spaces between the arches are walled up to more 
than half the height, which gives the cloisters a very 
heavy appearance. The upper gallery is evidently of 



much more modern date than the lower ; the capitals are 
imitations, and executed in a very inferior style ; it is 
likewise walled up in the same manner. There is a 
singular statue of the Virgin, of great antiquity and of 
colossal dimensions, and some curious ancient bas-reliefs 
representing the Crucifixion, the twelve Apostles, and 
scenes from Scripture, specimens of the infancy of art. 

There is a something very melancholy about these 
cloisters. The hand of time has stamped them with 
characters peculiarly its own ; and the dampness of the 
climate has added not a little to the look of antiquity 
which they wear. The fine rich-coloured stone is tinged 
with a yellow and a reddish hue, and the gloomy aspect 
of the place suits well with the decay of all around. The 
court is filled with weeds, green moss is creeping over 
the walls, and the cloisters of Silos are silently hastening 
to destruction. 

The bad weather forced us to remain here longer than 
we had intended. The old Abbot was a well-informed 
man, and we spent our time very agreeably, listening 
to his tales about the convent, the long lapse of years 
during which it had enjoyed so much splendour, and its 
present ruin. It was sad to hear him moan over its fall, 
and point to the fruitful orchards around, which once 
belonged to his order. He gave us some of the most 
delicious pears I ever tasted, grown in the convent 
garden ; but, " I have to buy them now," he added. He 
drew us a melancholy picture of the fall of the regular 
clergy ; but, of course, as an interested party, his statement 
could not be considered wholly unprejudiced ; and bitterly 
he complained of the manner in which the poor were 
neglected, and the insufficiency of the salary of the clergy, 
which prevented their doing so much good as they might 
in the way of charity. His pay as curate of the parish, 
was eight reals a-day (about eighteen pence) ; he told 



us of all the dependents of the convent, who were 
formerly supported by the brotherhood, and who had 
now lost their means of subsistence. He was very anxious 
to hear all the news of the outer world, whose din and 
bustle but faintly reached his secluded dwelling:, and 
talked with great delight about that "prenda nuestra," 
as he called Cardinal Wiseman ; he seemed likewise much 
interested in a body of Spanish missionaries, who had 
lately gone to Australia, among; them several of his old 
companions at Silos. 

The poor Abbot was in a state of great distress about 
the village barber, who had died a few days before. There 
had been a grand "junta" of the village worthies, and on 
the following morning, to his great delight, one was to 
appear ; for he had not been able to get shaved during 
this long interregnum. All these simple details amused 
us not a little. We walked through Silos ; it did not 
look to advantage in the dense mist which shrouded the 
mountains, but the situation is very pretty. In these 
secluded valleys, removed from the high road, there are 
many convents scattered about. At the distance of a 
league and a half from Silos, in a wild glen, stand the 
ruins of San Pedro de Arlanza, likewise belonging to 
the Benedictines. It was the burial-place of the great 
Count Fernan Gonzalez, the founder of Castilian indepen- 
dence. Several ballads give the story of its origin ; it 
was erected in fulfilment of a vow made by Gonzalez in 
one of his expeditions against the Moors. The building 
is fast falling to ruin, and we much regretted not being 
able to visit his sepulchre. 

This great hero of early times seems to have been a 
very troublesome personage to the Kings of Leon and 
Navarre, who reigned at that time, and his numerous 
imprisonments and romantic escapes form the subject of 
many an old ballad. The Counts of Castile held their court 



in Burgos; they were tributaries to the Kings of Leon, 
to whom they seem to have proved very turbulent vassals. 
Gonzalez having been taken prisoner by Ramiro, peace 
was made between them by the marriage of the Count's 
daughter, Urraca, to the heir of the throne. Civil wars 
ensued ; and when Sancho succeeded, by the aid of the 
Moslem, in recovering Leon, in return for the support he 
had received, and to revenge himself on Fern an Gonzalez, 
he gave them full permission to ravage the Count's terri- 
tories. The latter defeated them in many engagements, 
always, of course, opposing them with a very inferior 
force ; but the disparity of numbers, which the Christian 
historians were wont to record in order to enhance their 
own victories, led them to the conclusion at which one of 
the chroniclers of Gonzalez arrives, when he says : 

" La Rota de Cascajares 
Es argumento evidente, 
Que vale mas poca gente 
Con Dios, que sin Dios millarcs." 

After the Count's victories, Sancho sought to disguise 
his enmity, and sent to congratulate him, summoning him 
at the same time to attend the Cortes at Leon. Here, in 
order to get him once more imprisoned, he proposed his 
marrying Sancha of Navarre, whereupon the Count pro- 
ceeded to Pampluna to claim his bride at the hand of her 
brother Garcia, little dreaming of treachery. On his 
arrival, he was thrown into prison, by order of the King, 
according to the arrangement that had been previously 
made with Sancho ; he was, however, released by his 
intended bride, and they fled together to Burgos. Garcia, 
enraged at this, declared war against Fernan Gonzalez, 
but was defeated and taken prisoner, and was afterwards 
liberated at the intercession of his sister. The Count was 
once more entrapped by the King of Leon, and again 


taken prisoner, when his wife flew to his rescue. 
Pretending to be on a pilgrimage to Santiago, she passed 
through Leon, and on her way asked to see her husband, 
which permission was granted. She then exchanged 
clothes with him, and remained captive while he escaped ; 
but the King of Leon, on discovering the deception, sent 
her back, with all honour, to Burgos. 

The remainder of his life was employed in wars against 
the Moors, who were gaining ground considerably in 
Castile; but at length worn out by age and infirmities, 
he died in 970, leaving Castile to his son Garcia Fer- 
nandez, and his country quite independent of the King 
of Leon. The romantic adventures in the life of this 
Castilian hero have been recorded in several ballads, 
and also in a rhymed chronicle. From being regarded 
as the real founder of the Castilian monarchy, his name 
is always recurring in this part of Spain, and his good 
sword is still preserved at Seville, as I have before 

The old priest said mass every morning at six o'clock 
in the little chapel leading out of the cloister, when in 
these short winter days it was barely light. Desolate were 
those cloisters in passing along them in the cold and wet, 
all in keeping with their ruined state. I have attended 
many grand ceremonials where pomp and grandeur dis- 
played all that could captivate the imagination, but I never 
was present at so impressive a scene as that quiet early 
mass, offered up by this the last representative of a line 
of abbots who had governed Silos uninterruptedly for a 
thousand years. There was something so solemn, so calm, 
it inspired such true religious feeling ; and around were 
numbers of country people, who came to worship before 
they commenced their labours for the day. The rain still 
continued, but we were obliged to leave; and it was with 
a feeling of regret that I left the convent of Silos, and 

Ti B 



its secluded valley, so far from all the hum of the restless, 
busy world. 

We rode along a pretty glen, passing one or two 
villages, but the weather was so bad, and the mist so 
thick, that we could not see any of the country round. 
It rained in fact as it only can rain in the South ; where, 
when it does come down, it seems quite determined to 
make up for its rarity. The paths became regular moun- 
tain torrents, through which our horses waded up to the 
girths ; and to make our ride still more pleasant, we 
lost our way. The man belonging to the horses had 
never been the road before, and we met no one to ask, 
while the various paths crossing each other made it very 
perplexing. After riding for some hours, we came to a 
village called Castrillo, which they informed us was 
considerably out of our way. However, they showed 
us the right road, and we were truly glad when we saw 
the town of Lerma in the distance. We arrived drenched, 
and not at all in a frame of mind, even had the weather 
permitted it, to do any sight-seeing in this ancient town. 
We preferred getting round the large and cheerful fire, 
which proved far more attractive than the deserted 
mansion of the great minister of Philip III. 

For once all curiosity had vanished, and we were only 
anxious to get on to Burgos as quickly as we could. 
Riding is charming enough under a sunny sky, but in 
bad weather it is quite another thing, more particu- 
larly in a country where generally you have not any 
opportunity of drying your clothes, if you should be wet 
through. At Lerma, however, we were fortunate, and we 
found the advantage of those great bee-hive roofs which 
had attracted our attention so much in the Castilian 
villages. The room at the little posada in Lerma presented 
quite a joyous scene : on a raised platform, occupying a 
large space in the centre, was an enormous wood fire 



Crackling and blazing most cheerfully, the smoke escaping 
by the huge bell-shaped roof; several large saucepans, with 
the olla stewing, were ranged amid the ashes, and a large 
caldron full of water was suspended by a chain from the 
ceiling. We took our seats on the substantial wooden 
benches, arranged round the attractive centre, and joined 
the circle already assembled. We had a very tolerable 
dinner, and were glad enough to lie down upon the beds 
until the diligence passed. It passed through in the 
middle of the night ; we lost no time in taking possession 
of the vacant seats, and were soon on our way to Burgos, 
w here we arrived early in the morning. 

Small and wretched as it is now, Burgos bears the 
impress of antiquity, and the grand gateway by which it 
is entered from the bridge, forms a fitting approach to 
so ancient a city. This is, nevertheless, a comparatively 
modern erection, of the time of Charles V., whose statue 
figures in the centre, supported on either side by Fernan 
Gonzalez and the Cid, while below are three other heroes 
of even earlier date in Castilian history. Its fine 
massive turrets give it an imposing appearance, and 
behind it rise the aerial pinnacles of the cathedral, with 
their exquisitely perforated stone-work. The exterior 
of this edifice is beautiful ; a rich mass of florid Gothic, 
elaborately worked and overlaid with ornament, its lofty 
spires, and the dark-coloured stone of which it is built, 
make it very much resemble one of our own cathedrals. 
It is difficult to obtain any general view, from its being so 
crowded with old buildings. It was commenced in the 
reign of St. Ferdinand in 1221 on the site of the King's 
palace. The interior, as a whole, is very disappointing ; 
it is narrow, and so choked up by the coro, and an 
unusual quantity of massive rejas, that it is quite impos- 
sible to embrace the whole. The church is in the form 
of a cross ; it presents a strange mixture of plateresquc 

B R 2 



and Gothic; the cupola is of more modern construction, 
and is the work of Felipe de Borgona, who lies buried 

The gem of the cathedral is the chapel of the Con- 
stable of Castile, the great family of Velasco, Counts of 
Haro. The exquisite white stone of which it is built 
shows off to much advantage the delicate sculpture, all 
the lace-like borders to the arches, and the figures with 
their heraldic devices which adorn it. There is a lightness 
and an elegance about this chapel seldom to be met with. 
In front of the high altar are the tombs of the founder and 
his wife, which were executed in Italy in 1540. Their 
marble figures are reclining, and admirably executed ; 
there is likewise in the chapel an enormous block of 
jasper. A lovely picture of a Magdalen is in a small 
sacristy, a good specimen of the Italian school. It would 
be endless to detail all the objects of interest enclosed 
within the walls of this cathedral, the many sepulchre -, 
the chapels with all their rich details ; every gateway 
is a study, and the exterior certainly has no equal in 

One cannot but lament the absence of painted glass, 
which would so materially improve its internal appear- 
ance ; but the plain glass windows are among the main 
mementos of the French invasion. When they abandoned 
the fortress in 1813, they attempted to blow up the castle, 
and an explosion took place which destroyed all the 
painted glass windows. The inhabitants in the present 
century were not as ready to replace this loss as their 
ancestors in former days, when the cupola fell in 1539 ; 
then, every possible exertion was made to repair the 
damage, and the present splendid structure soon rose 
on the ruins of the former one, the architecture not 
perhaps strictly in keeping with the remainder of the 
edifice, but attesting the taste and magnificence of the 


age of the Imperial Charles. The richly-decorated 
portals of the facade were removed in 1794, and their 
present bare appearance spoils the magnificence of the 
remainder. To the north, another elaborate portal may 
be seen, called the Pnerta Alta. It is decorated with 
the statues of the twelve Apostles, and a staircase leads 
down from it to the. floor of the cathedral, above which 
it is raised nearly thirty feet. Close by is another 
enriched doorway, called the Puerta de la Pellegeria, 
more in the plateresque style ; and here the exquisite 
pinnacles of the Constable's chapel form a becoming- 
termination to the building. The arms and figures 
sculptured on the back of this chapel are magnificent. 

Adjoining the cathedral are the cloisters ; small and 
much enclosed, but very handsome ; they are crowded 
with old tombs. Leading out of them is the sacristy, 
filled with portraits of the Bishops and Archbishops of 
Burgos down to the present day. In another small 
chapel, now used merely as a passage leading to the 
archives of the cathedral, is the tomb of Juan Cuchiller, 
the attendant on Enrique III., who sold his coat to 
procure a supper for his royal master, at the time that 
the feuds and rapacity of the nobles had reduced the 
Crown to such a state of poverty, that the Sovereign 
had no funds wherewith to keep up the dignity of his 

An interesting relic is presen r ed here ; it is an old 
Avorm-eaten oak chest, which has the magic Avords written 
under it, the coffer of the Cid. Fortunately, it is 
fastened against the Avail high up beyond the reach of 
romantic souvenir-loving travellers, who might Avish to 
detach a trifling morsel as a recollection of this old 
Castilian chief. We ascended to the summit of one of 
the spires, and the beauty of the statues which decorate 
its pinnacles, and the ornaments and detail of its 



parapets and buttresses, well repay one for the ascent. 
Burgos has, however, several objects of interest besides 
its cathedral, although its finest convents are destroyed, 
or converted to purposes for which they were never 
intended. The citadel crowns the hill which rises behind 
the town ; within its walls stood the Alcazar, the resi- 
dence of its ancient rulers, but no traces of it now 
remain. All appears wretched and deserted, although 
it is still a fortress, and permission must be asked of the 
officer on guard before strangers can be permitted to 

The view is extensive and pleasing, disclosing scenes 
replete with many historic recollections. To the east in 
the distance rise the hills of Atapuerca, where Garcia, 
King of Navarre, fell in battle against his brother Fer- 
dinand, the first monarch of Castile. To the south, 
the craggy rock of Carazo, noted in tradition as the 
site of a Roman temple. The heights of Carazo have 
retained their renown even in more modern days, for 
here, during the Carlist war, Balmaseda fortified and 
entrenched himself, committing atrocities which were 
of no uncommon occurrence in those domestic feuds. 
To the west, the remains of the Moorish Castle of Munon 
still remain, another conquest of the Castilian Count. 
The river Arlanzon flows along the valley through 
well-cultivated meadows, amid the shade of trees which 
fringe its banks. In the neighbourhood of the town 
rise two large groups of buildings ; one the royal 
nunnery of the Huelgas, founded by Eleanor of England, 
the wife of Alfonso VIII., the other the Hospital del 
Rey, erected at the same time, and dependent on the 
Huelgas. Above the town the spires of the cathedral 
appear ; and on a distant hill may be seen the pinnacles 
of the Cartuja of Miraflores. Close below is the arch 
erected by Philip II. to the memory of Fernan Gonzalez, 


3 7 ."> 

a tasteless unmeaning-looking thing. To the right is the 
cemetery, whore the tombs covered with wreaths of 
everlastings, and the flickering candles with which they 
were adorned, reminded us it was All Souls' Day. 

Burgos itself is as dirty and miserable as any town can 
well be ; it is small, but the towers of the numerous 
convents and churches, and the facades and patios of 
some of the houses, indicate its former importance. 
The Casa del Cordon, formerly belonging to the Con- 
sul )los of Castile, is now inhabited by the Gefe Politico, 
or civil governor. Many of the facades of the houses 
in some of the streets behind the cathedral are richly 
ornamented, and the small projecting towers of some are 
very curious. But few noble families now r live in Burgos ; 
and although the residence of a Captain-General, there is 
little or no society, all is as dull as the appearance of this 
cold venerable old town could lead one to expect. As it 
is on the high road to France, the inns are rather better 
than the generality. It is almost the only place where 
we were asked for our passport throughout the whole 
of Spain. They seldom trouble foreigners about these 
things in this country, although in case of accidents it 
is, of course, always prudent to be on the safe side and 
be provided with one. And it may also be mentioned 
that — except in cases of cathedrals and churches, when 
of course special leave is necessary — I have never been 
prevented drawing wherever and whenever I pleased ; 
nor have I ever heard in Spain that permission from the 
authorities was requisite for the purpose. Formerly it 
doubtless was so, while the civil war was yet recent ; 
but in the present clay, artists may sketch all through 
the Peninsula, without meeting any interference from 
officials, save now and then, perhaps, their keeping off 
from him the annoying pressure of the too curious crowd. 

The greatest annoyance in Spain, is the constant 



opening of the luggage; on arrival at any great town, 
all the boxes are inspected ; but if the traveller will only 
make up his mind to bear it patiently, he will find it 
a mere matter of form, nothing is ever touched, and it 
is not at all necessary to pay the officers ; a little civility 
goes a great way in the Peninsula. We invariably 
escaped very well, and the immense quantity of luggage 
we were tormented with, from the size of Mr. Tenison's 
Talbotype apparatus, rendered us very suspicious-looking 
personages. In fact, it made us the general subject of 
attention wherever we w r ent, and attracted an immense 
crowd in the streets whenever the mysterious-looking 
machine w r as put up. Many were the remarks that were 
made upon it in the different towms through which we 
passed, and much it excited the wonder of the admiring 
crowd, who could not imagine the its object. " Es 
musica ?" asked one little urchin ; some more curious than 
the rest would offer as much as three-pence, to be 
allowed to have one peep ; and our servant only allayed 
their curiosity by informing them it was a new machine 
for roasting chesnuts ! Sometimes Mr. T. would let them 
peep through the ground glass, after the picture was 
removed; but they were intensely disgusted at not seeing 
anything but the objects before them turned upside down. 

This old city, although it is situated on the high 
road to France, is decidedly very much behindhand in 
many ways, more particularly if one may judge from 
the style of the carriages. We hired one to go to Mira- 
flores and San Pedro de Cardena, two most interesting 
excursions in the neighbourhood. 

SIM \Nf VS. 


" Y a San Pedro dc Cardcfia 
Mando que mi cucrpo lleven, 
Quo cs monestcrio en Cast ilia 
Donde quiero que le enticnen ; 
Y a Dios pido mi perdonc 
Cuando d'este muudo fuere." 

Romaxcero General. 

"And when lie arrived at the town which is called Simancas, two leagues from 
Yalladolid, where the King's Court was, God permitted, and the misfortunes of the 
Island of Hercmon would have it, that he should take the sickness of his dissolution." — 
Annals of Irelaxd. 







Our vehicle was like a large omnibus ■ of a very 
primitive construction, and unfortunately the roads were 
in a still more primitive condition. The jolting as we 
crossed these rude mountain tracts, was enough to dislocate 



all one's joints, and shake one to pieces. At length we 
reached Miraflores, and began to indulge ourselves in the 
pleasing prospect of resting for a short time, but our 
coachman would not hear of such a thing ; he declared 
the English always stopped there on their way back, so 
he insisted on our doing the same. Remonstrance was 
useless ; therefore Ave obeyed, and continued over barren 
downs, our vehicle often threatening to upset us, until we 
arrived at the Convent of San Pedro de Cardena, sunk 
in a dreary naked-looking dell, a very scene of desolation, 
fit abode for votaries of seclusion and mortification. The 
modern appearance of this building is rather startling at 
first, for one naturally expects the building which contains 
the tomb of the Cid to bear some traces of antiquity ; 
but it has been modernized, and bears evident marks of 
being an erection of the last century. The hand of ruin 
has now, however, stamped it as its own. San Pedro de 
Cardena has lately been sold to some private individual ; 
but the present owner can now only guard the monument 
of Spain's great hero, his ashes have been taken from 
their resting-place, and now find a temporary asylum in 
the house of the Ayuntamiento in Burgos. 

Placed under the same rule as the monastery of Silos, 
Cardena claims its foundation likewise in the sixth century. 
Tradition says, that Theodoric, the son of one of the 
Gothic kings, was killed, while out hunting, on the site 
it now occupies. His mother, Sancha, caused him to 
be buried in a hermitage near the spot, and afterwards 
founded a monastery, which she entrusted to the Bene- 
dictines. History records a dreadful massacre which 
occurred here in the ninth century, during one of the 
forays of the Moors, in the days of Alfonso the Chaste. 
King of Leon, when two hundred monks were put to 
death in cold blood, and the edifice razed to the ground. 
But the most remarkable event in the annals of this 


monastery, was the opening of its doors to receive the 
remains of the favourite champion of Spain, the great 
Cid, Kuy Diaz. 

By many considered a fabulous hero, he is now 
generally acknowledged to have been a real character. 
Clothed in all the romance which tinges the early ballad 
history of nations, his actions were undoubtedly exagge- 
rated and embellished to suit the taste of the age, and 
increase the admiration of the people. He has become 
the beau ideal of Castilian knights ; the largest number of 
ballads on any one subject is devoted to his exploits ; an 
ancient chronicle records the events of his life, and the 
earliest poem in the Spanish language is dedicated to the 
Cid Campeador. It is a charming production of those 
rude but chivalrous days, breathing in simple language 
the heroic spirit of the times, when loyalty and religious 
enthusiasm formed the leading features in every Castilian's 

The Cid died in Valencia in 1099 His body was 
conveyed to San Pedro de Cardena, which had ever been a 
favourite convent of his. He and his faithful Jimena were 
buried before the high altar of the church; and however 
restless may have been the life of the Cid, his remains 
appear to have been destined to enjoy as little tranquillity. 

His monument now stands in a small side chapel. The 
effigies of the Cid and Jimena are placed side by side 
on a stone pedestal ; on the upper part is engraved the 
following inscription, placed there by order of Alfonso 
el Sabio : 

Belliger invictus, famosus marte fcriumphis 
Clauditur hoc tumid o magnus didaci liodcricus 
Obiit era m.c.xxxvii. 

Below are several other inscriptions of modern date. A 
dog, the emblem of fidelity, is placed at the foot of 



Jimena. On the walls around are blazoned the arms 
of many of the Cid's relatives and companions in arms, 
with the names inscribed beneath. This tawdry chapel 
was erected by Philip V. in 1736, who moved thither the 
remains of the Cid. Never were the ashes of any hero 
exposed to such vicissitudes. Originally interred before 
the high altar, they were removed by Alfonso el Sabio. 
In 1447, their position was again altered, but Charles V. 
had them replaced; whence they were afterwards taken, 
and they remained in peace until the new chapel was 
prepared for them by Philip V. But even in this chapel, 
he could not be allowed to rest ; when the French 
were in possession of Burgos, their general, seized with a 
sentimental fit, transported the remains of the Cid to 
the grand promenade along the banks of the Arlanzon, 
where the tomb was arranged. Here, however, they re- 
mained but a short time ; once more they were transferred 
to the monastery, and here if possible in their first resting- 
place one would wish to leave his ashes in repose, but in 
1842 the poor Cid was again removed to Burgos to be 
deposited in the house of the Ayuntamiento. The marble 
tomb in the monastery of Cardena remains an empty 
sepulchre ; the convent itself will not long survive the 
spoliation of its hero's tomb, and this spot so renowned 
in tradition, so famed in the national poetry, so full of 
great and glorious souvenirs, will before long for ever 
disappear from the soil of Castile. 

On our return, we stopped at the great Carthusian 
monastery of Miraflores founded in the reign of Henry III. 
In architectural beauty, it has not so much to excite the 
admiration of the traveller, as most Carthusian monas- 
teries, but it contains a tomb which makes it well worthy 
of a pilgrimage. Here is the sepulchre of John II. and 
his wife, Isabella of Portugal, the parents of the great 
Isabella. It stands in front of the high altar, and is an 


octagon marble pedestal, on which lie the effigies of the 
Sovereigns. It would be almost impossible for any 
description to give an idea of the beauty of these tombs ; 
never was alabaster more exquisitely moulded ; a pro- 
fusion of figures and foliage, and countless ornaments 
are worked upon it with a prodigality and a richness 
quite unequalled. The figures of the Sovereigns too are 
very fine, but the elegance of this gem of art has not 
preserved it from mutilation ; and the iron railing, which 
is placed so near it as to conceal its beauties, has not been 
sufficient to defend it from sacrilegious hands. The tomb 
of their son, Alfonso, is placed in the wall to the right 
of the altar, and is likewise of elaborate workmanship. 
Those works were executed in 1493, by the father of 
Piego de Siloe, and were offered as a pious tribute by 
Isabella to the memory of her father. 

The retablo of the church was gilt with the first gold 
of the New World that was presented to the Queen, and 
which she devoted to this purpose. The paintings which 
adorned the Cartuja at Miratiores have disappeared ; all 
the jewels were carried off by the French in 1808, when 
the convent was sacked after the entrance of Joseph into 
Burgos. Three old monks are now the sole occupants 
of the vast building, and one seemed still to moan over 
the days when he was living according to the rules of his 
order. It was in vain that we tried to impress upon 
him that he could now talk as much as he liked ; 
the poor old man sighed for the times that were 

A stone crucifix stands at one corner of the cloisters, 
and a small iron cross marks the burial-place of the last 
Prior. The grass is growing wild in the open space, and 
around nothing but decay. The same mysterious silence 
pervades it now as when the cowled monk walked 
stealthily along its sheltered corridors; but although 



prayers and hymns of praise may no longer resound in 
the vaulted church, some respect seems to have been 
shown to this sanctuary of kings, and Miranores has as 
yet been spared from sharing the common ruin, or the 
indignity of being converted to some unworthy purpose. 

Miranores was a favourite resort of the Spanish Sove- 
reigns. A hunting-seat of Henry III. ; it was presented 
to the Carthusians by his son John II., who desired to be 
interred within the walls of the church, which he himself 
had erected. A fire consumed the edifice, and it was 
some time after his death before his remains were depo- 
sited there. 

Isabella, on her triumphal entry into Burgos in 1483, 
stopped at Miranores, and wished to see her father's 
tomb ; but as it was within the walls of the con- 
vent, over whose threshold the foot of woman could not 
pass, the cenobites were rather perplexed, and wished 
to make an exception in her favour, as their Sovereign. 
On hearing this, however, she declined, saying, " that she 
trusted Providence would not permit vows to be broken 
on her account, or the rules of the order to be violated." 
Isabella may, in fact, be considered as the founder of this 
convent, and indeed she would not allow any one to share 
the honour with her, for it is said that on seeing one day 
that the arms of Aragon and Sicily had been blazoned 
with her own, she exclaimed in indignation that she would 
not permit any but her father's arms to be placed in the 
church which contained his sepulchre. Much as she loved 
and respected her husband, she had that Castilian pride 
which always showed itself tenacious to a degree of any 
interference with her own dominions. 

Burgos seems rich in royal convents, for near the town, 
in the plain watered by the Arlanzon, stands the nunnery 
of the Huelgas, founded by Alfonso VIII., at the insti- 
gation of his wife, Eleanor of England. It was com- 


tnenced in I ISO, and inhabited by nuns of the Cistercian 
order. It is a singular building, or rather groups of 
buildings, and is more like a large village surrounded by 
walls, presenting specimens of architecture of every age. 
The superior was a mitred abbess, and ruled over fifty- 
one villages ; her jurisdiction was independent of any 
diocese, and her power, both spiritual and temporal, 
exceeded that of any abbess in Christendom. All this 
is now a mere shadow ; the nuns still retain some 
possesions, but compared with what they once enjoyed, 
it is as nothing. None but ladies of noble blood are 
admitted, and many of the Infantas of Castile have ruled 
within its walls. 

There are still several nuns in the Huelgas; we paid 
one of them a long visit, at the reja — for no one, either 
male or female, is permitted to enter within its walls 
without a royal order. I never met any one who so 
thoroughly enjoyed talking ; she touched on politics, 
scandal, and everything in succession with a rapidity 
which showed that her seclusion from the world had 
rather increased than diminished her affection for hearing 
of its frivolities. She was very good-natured, and 
came down to the church to undraw the curtain that 
we might peep through the iron railings, and see the 
tomb of the founder. Above the high altar, waves the 
banner taken from the Moors at the Navas de Tolosa. 
It is a fine church, but it was too dark to see it to 
advantage, and we could only just catch the vision of a 
kneeling nun by the dim lights burning before the altar. 
They have a curious high head-dress descending in a 
peak on the forehead, and they wear a black mantle over 
the white robe of their order. 

The Church of the Huelgas has been the theatre of 
many interesting events in Spanish history. Within its 
walls Saint Ferdinand knighted himself, while his mother, 



who had so nobly made over to him her own right to 
the throne, fastened on his sword. Here, too, our 
Edward I. was married to Eleanor, daughter of the 
sainted monarch, and received knighthood from the 
hands of her brother, Alfonso el Sabio. This church 
witnessed the coronation of several Castilian sovereigns, 
amongst them of Henry of Trastamara, when he com- 
menced his wars against his brother. There are many 
other convents in Burgos, but few are worth visiting. 

We had now seen as much as our time would allow 
us of this venerable old place, where the first Cortes, 
which assembled in Spain, held its sitting in 11G9, and 
which was the nucleus of that Castilian power, destined 
eventually to unite under its sceptre all the various 
monarchies of Leon, Aragon, Navarre, and the vast 
territories which once owned the Moslem sway. Burgos 
now barely contains a population of ten thousand inhabi- 
tants. It seems to possess no sign of life within it. 
The weather too was unfavourable when we were there, 
and contributed perhaps to make it more gloomy than 
usual — the leaves lay scattered thick under the trees 
along the river, and the cloudy sky above formed 
no very cheering prospect, after the bright days of 
the South. 

The diligence road from Burgos to Valladolid, runs 
along a wide valley, more liveable and more culti- 
vated than the usual wastes of Castile. It is a capital 
road, and we performed the distance of twenty-two 
leagues in twelve hours. We dined at a wretched place, 
called Torquemada. On approaching Duenas, the tra- 
veller's attention is attracted by a splendid canal, which 
shows signs of industry and commerce, something unusual 
in a land whose staple produce seems to have been 
monastic buildings. As usual, it is not finished ; such 
works never are concluded in Spain. Duenas is a 



curious town, people seem to live under-ground, in the 
hill sides ; and the chimneys spring from the earth in an 
extraordinary manner. 

Valladolid is a large and imposing town, compared 
with the decayed city of Burgos, and has altogether a 
more modern and civilized appearance; many of the streets 
are wide, and have been considerably modernized. The 
row of shops under the colonnades of the Plaza, are very 
handsome, and look well filled with French goods ; next 
to Madrid, as far as one can judge by the display in the 
windows, they certainly appear better than in any other 
town in Spain, that I have yet seen. Here and there 
may be found some picturesque bits, but they are few 
and far between; all the old bridges over the Esgueva, 
a stream which runs through the tow n, have been cleared 
away, and the Esgueva itself covered over ; this, although 
a considerable improvement in some respects, has 
destroyed many a pretty picture. Valladolid is a very 
old place, but a large portion of it was destroyed by 
a terrible conflagration in the reign of Philip II., after 
which the present Plaza, and many adjoining streets 
were built. 

It claims as its founder the Count Pedro Ansurez, to 
whom it was ceded by Alfonso VI. This powerful noble 
contributed much to the embellishment of the town, 
and erected the bridge which now crosses the Pisuerga, 
the Church of the Antigua, and many other edifices. 
In the year 1208, on the death of one of his descendants, 
the lordship of Valladolid reverted to the Crow r n, and 
it became afterwards a favourite residence of the court, 
w hich was finally established there during the minority 
of John II. It was here that Christopher Columbus 
expired in 1506, his later years clouded by the ingratitude 
of his Sovereign; and here, in the year 1527, Philip II. 
was born. The rejoicings in celebration of his birth were 

G C 



postponed in consequence of the taking of Rome ; and 
the Emperor ordered prayers to be put up in the church ( ;s 
for the speedy deliverance of the Pope, whose release 
depended only on a stroke of his own pen. In 1536, 
Charles entered Valladolid again, but not now with 
all the pomp and splendour of an Imperial court ; he 
was on his way to the cloister of San Yuste, to finish 
a career of unparalleled glory by one of prayer and 
religious seclusion. 

Valladolid was one of the strongholds of the Inquisition, 
which was established in 1500. A modern historian of 
this town says, it was first established in the Calle del 
Obispo, in a house now occupied by the Academia de las 
Nobles Artes, where still, on the blackened walls of the 
subterranean chambers, may be traced inscription-, pro- 
bably the effusions of some of its victims ; the style and 
language of many of them, being in Latin, proving them 
to have been written by people of the better class. Many 
were the autos-de-fe, held in this town in presence of 
royalty ; the " Campo Grande" being the scene of the fires, 
which consumed alike the followers of Luther and the 
persecuted race of Israel. In those days none were safe 
from this dread tribunal ; the slightest taint of heresy 
was sufficient to draw a suspected person Avithin its 
vortex, and the most learned and the most pious, against 
whom no charges could possibly have existed, fell victims 
to a tribunal, which was frequently made the instrument 
of private vengeance. 

The scene of their autos-de-fe is now the grand 
winter promenade of Valladolid, a portion of it having 
been laid out as an Alameda. It is a fine open space, 
surrounded by buildings, most of which were con- 
vents ; and here Napoleon reviewed upwards of thirty 
thousand men. This, however, as a walk, is not to be 
compared in beauty with that of the Moreras, which lies 



along- the banks of the Pisuerga. Valladolid stands in 
a tine valley, bordered by low hills ; and the river which 
waters it, is really a noble stream. The Alameda of the 
Moreras has a fine broad walk, interspersed with seats ; 
it takes its name from the rows of mulberries, which are 
planted along the green bank that slopes down to the 
water's edge, and enjoys the most delicious shade. 
Crossing the bridge, and passing the quays of the canal, 
we climbed the height where stands the telegraph. The 
view extends over an immense plain, intersected here and 
there by low ranges of hills, which separate the different 
valleys, and in the distance the blue mountains of Avila 
bound the horizon. The situation seems well adapted for 
a great capital. 

The royal palace is now deserted ; built by the great 
Cardinal, Duke of Lerma, it became royal property. 
Nothing can be plainer than the exterior, and the interior 
i- wretchedly furnished, wearing an air of most uncom- 
fortable neglect. One of the King's sisters, the Infanta 
Jo>efa is now residing there, in a sort of honourable exile, 
having married far below her rank. Opposite to the palace 
is the elaborately worked and magnificent facade of the 
church, formerly belonging to the Dominican convent 
of San Pablo, one of the most highly ornamented speci- 
mens of the period, when Gothic architecture was enriched 
in a fantastic manner, and overloaded with a luxuriance 
of decoration. No one can form an idea of the detail 
of this facade, the whole surface of the stone is sculptured, 
and surmounted by the arms of the Duke of Lerma. 
He and his Duchess were buried in this church, but their 
fine monuments have been removed to the Museum. The 
interior is simple, but of fine proportions ; it had cloisters 
attached to it, but they have now entirely disappeared, 
the materials having been found useful for the construction 
of a new prison in the Campo Grande. 

c c 2 



The adjoining college of San Gregorio, has escaped 
destruction, having been converted into the palace of 
the civil Governor. Some formal modern windows 
detract very much from the beauty of the elevation. 
In the gateway, Gothic architecture displays itself in all 
the quaintest forms of the transition style ; wild men 
with clubs under canopies adorn the sides, while in the 
centre the royal arms, supported by lions, are placed 
amid intertwining branches of strange-looking trees, and 
a sort of rustic stone-work crowns the whole as a parapet. 
This college was commenced, in 1488, by one of the 
princely prelates of those days, Alfonso de Burgos, Bishop 
of Palencia, and it took years in building. The cloisters 
are among the most exquisite in Spain, perhaps in Europe. 
They consist of two galleries, the lower formed by thin 
and lofty spiral columns. Round the upper, runs a 
richly sculptured balustrade ; its arches subdivided by tiny 
columns, and the intervening stone-work covered with 
delicate wreaths of foliage, cherubs and other ornaments. 
The effect of the whole is beautiful, but considerably 
marred by the glass, which the Governor, with a view 
to his own comfort, has had placed in the openings. 
One side has escaped this vandalism, and stands out in 
all its pristine beauty. 

We were most kindly received by the Governor, who 
showed us through all the rooms, some of which bear 
traces of their past magnificence. A long saloon, out of 
which two smaller ones opened at either end, had once a 
most gorgeous artesonado ceiling ; but I grieve to have to 
say it exists no longer. For some reason or another, difficult 
to be accounted for, the people took into their heads it 
was falling, and in order to settle the matter without any 
trouble, it was taken down ; but we were told that far 
from being in a ruinous condition when the workmen 
commenced operations, the pieces of wood of which it was 



composed wore so firmly united, that they had the 
greatest difficulty in displacing them. The hall was 
entirely in ruins when we were there, preparatory to 
being fitted up in modern Spanish style. 

The street which leads from here to the cathedral 
has lately been baptized with the name of the Calle 
Reinoso, in compliment to one of the members of the 
Bravo Murillo cabinet, who had purchased the corner 
house, and was, of course, for the time being the especial 
object of adulation of his fellow-citizens. The cathedral 
might have been very splendid, had it been completed 
according to the original design. The interior is sombre, 
breathing the very spirit of him who built the massive 
church of the Escorial ; the huge blocks of granite, with- 
out an attempt at ornament, inspire a certain feeling of 
awe at the massive proportions of the edifice, but it excites 
no admiration. The paltry altar, with its whitewashed 
walls, are unworthy of such a temple, and its unfinished 
state, both inside and out, leaves an unsatisfactory im- 
pression on the mind. It contains the tomb of the first 
Lord of Valladolid, Pedro Ansurez, and some one or two 
fine paintings of the Italian school. In the sacristy is 
preserved the beautiful silver custodia of Juan de Arfe ; 
but little else remains of the former treasures which this 
church possessed before the French invasion. 

Not far from the cathedral is the lofty tower of the 
Antigua. Built in the eleventh century by Ansurez, 
it is the earliest specimen of church architecture in 
Valladolid ; and its numerous round-headed windows and 
scaly roof make it very peculiar. We could not see the 
fine retablo, from its being concealed by draperies pre- 
pared for a funeral ceremony. 

The Colegio de Santa Cruz is an imposing edifice, 
with its parapet and buttresses ; over the portal it is 
enriched in the plateresque style. It owes its origin to 



the great Cardinal Mendoza, and Isabella assisted in 
person at the opening. Paintings, sculptures, and 
carvings, from the many ruined convents of Valladolid, 
are here collected in most admired disorder ; and the 
few good things amongst them, are almost lost amid the 
rubbish thus assembled, and no attempt at classification 
has as yet been made. The director, Don Pedro 
Gonzalez, complained with much bitterness of the 
want of funds, and of the utter carelessness and in- 
difference of both officials and people to encouraging 
anything connected with the fine arts, or the preservation 
of antiquities. He seemed really to appreciate them 
himself ; but what can one person do where there are so 
few to second him ? 

On entering the patio, or cloister, it seems more like a 
curiosity-shop than anything else. One of the gems of 
the museum is the carved choir, removed here from San 
Benito ; it is the work of Berruguete ; the stalls are 
most beautifully sculptured, and the arms of the various 
Benedictine convents in Spain are carved over the seats. 
In the centre of the hall are bronze figures, richly gilt, 
of the Duke of Lerma and his wife ; he was the well- 
known favourite and prime minister of Philip III., and 
when he foresaw his approaching disgrace, he wisely 
provided himself with a cardinal's hat, and ended his 
days in dignified retirement at Valladolid. Some large 
paintings, said to be by Rubens, are hung upon the walls ; 
they were brought from the nunnery of Fuen Saldanha in 
the neighbourhood. Here and there a painting shines 
out from among the rest ; but the principal attraction 
of this museum is the collection of painted wooden 

This art, so peculiar to Spain, may here be seen in 
perfection, although the figures have certainly not 
gained by their transfer from the altars of the churches 


to the shelves of a museum, where they are placed in the 
most heterogeneous confusion. Made for particular pur- 
poses, and adapted to the site for which they were 
sculptured, when placed together like so many wax 
figures, all the poetry is lost, and the effect entirely 
destroyed. The eye becomes bewildered, and can 
hardly render justice to the bold and energetic pro- 
ductions of Juan de Juni, or the more graceful and 
devotional works of the pious Hernandez. These two 
artists were the great ornaments of the school of 
Castilian sculpture in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. The life and origin of the former seems 
enveloped in some obscurity; but his style tends to 
credit the belief that he studied on the classic soil of 
Italy. Hernandez proved a worthy successor to Juni, 
and has left many proofs of his genius in the town where 
he resided. He died in 1636, after a life divided between 
the exercise of his art, and works of religious devotion, 
preparing himself for the execution of figures, which 
were to adorn the altars of the churches, by prayer and 

There is a fine Mater Dolorosa by Juan de Juni pre- 
served in the church of the Augustias, called La Senora 
de los Cuchillos, from the long silver knives placed in 
her hand. The face expresses the bitterest anguish and 
sorrow, and with eyes upturned to heaven, portrays the 
depth of human grief. 

We also went to see the English college, and were most 
kindly received by the rector, who has resided there for 
upwards of twenty years. The building presents nothing 
remarkable ; it contains a neat octagonal church, which 
had been undergoing repair : the corridor is hung with 
pictures of some who are said to have suffered martyr- 
dom in England in the days of Elizabeth, many of 
whom were educated within its walls. This college, 



dedicated to St. Alban, was founded by Philip II. for 
the education of such Roman Catholics as could not 
receive instruction in England, in order, that when duly 
trained in the principles of their faith, they might be 
able to instruct others on their return to their own 
country. There are now but thirteen students. Another 
college, founded with similar intentions, was given to the 
Scotch in the last century, and both are possessed of 
considerable lands in the neighbourhood, which are much 
better cultivated than the properties round them. 

The rage for taking the veil is prevailing as much 
here as in other places ; we went to see a novice enter 
the convent of Santa Ana, and the ceremony was per- 
formed in the church, and not within the convent, as is 
generally the custom. The lady, who was anything but 
pretty or prepossessing, was very gaily dressed, and in 
such joyous spirits, that one might have imagined she 
was doing it rather out of bravado than influenced by 
any better feeling. She knelt before the altar, while the 
officiating clergyman gave us a long lecture on the 
vanities of the world, and the beauty of a life of 
seclusion and penance. He then placed a crucifix in 
one of her hands, and in the other a torch, and her 
head was adorned with a large crown of roses. I felt 
sorry I had not a small looking-glass to offer her, for 
she seemed so anxious it should be arranged becomingly, 
that she gave the crucifix to a friend to hold while she 
settled it herself. After this was adjusted to her satis- 
faction, she walked out of the church in procession, and 
entered the convent. The crowd rushed to the iron 
railings to see her give the embrace to the nuns. The 
curtain rose, and she then appeared in her white dress, 
and made her bow to the world, while the spectators left 
the church highly edified with the proceedings. 

Valladolid docs not seem more lively than Spanish 


towns in general. It has a theatre, a plaza de toros, but 
very little society. We spent one very pleasant day in 
an expedition to Simaucas, where the archives of Spain 
air preserved. We had a most charming vehicle for 
our excursion, what is called here a " tartana," a 
small omnibus with a canvas covering, and no great 
abundance of springs. It was got up quite regardless 
of expense, and lined with satin, and trimmed with all 
manner of fringe and tassels. We had two horses at 
starting, but when we had left the town a third was 
brought out, which, being left to its own devices, took 
its own line of country in a most independent manner, 
at one moment threatening to take us into a ditch, at 
another up a bank. The road leads along near the river, 
and was one continued succession of ruts the whole way 
to Simancas. We stopped to take a sketch of the town, 
which has an imposing appearance from a distance, with 
its long bridge ; but of all wretched, miserable places, 
when you once reach it, I never saw its equal. We w T ere 
obliged to leave our elegant equipage at the bottom of 
the hill, and we ascended to the castle through streets, 
ankle- deep in mud. 

We had a letter to one of the officials, who escorted us 
over the building ; where the archives are deposited. He 
declared there was not anything to see, that all those little 
packages of papers contained positively nothing. To do 
him justice, he seemed in most blissful ignorance of 
the value of their contents. In this uncomfortable 
manner we passed through forty-three rooms, in which 
ninety thousand packages of paper await the investigation 
of the curious. The ground was strewed with above 
thirty tons of documents, all relating to the Inquisition, 
which had but lately arrived from Madrid. Of all unin- 
teresting rooms to walk through, those containing records 
are the most tiresome; all the packets ticketed and put 



in their own little compartments, looking as though they 
were settled in peace and quietness for life, without any 
intention of being disturbed. There is something so foolish 
in this negative inspection, the tickets conveying no mean- 
ing to the eye, which longs to penetrate their dingy 
covers and glean some information from their silent con- 
tents. They remind one of those quiet people, one meets 
occasionally in the world, so cold and impenetrable that 
there is no making anything out of them, although, as 
a consolation, you are always assured there is a great deal 
in them. So it is with these musty records, in which 
there is doubtless much concealed that might reward those 
who would take the trouble to cultivate their acquaint- 
ance, and in both cases you long for the talisman that 
would unravel the mystery in which they are shrouded. 

As we were leaving, we met the Secretary, who asked 
if we had seen some curious documents, which he 
mentioned, and to which of course we replied in the 
negative. He then escorted us back through many 
mysterious corners and up winding staircases into a 
small octagonal room, where the wills of some of the 
Spanish Sovereigns are preserved. We glanced through 
those of Isabella, her grandson Charles V., and we like- 
wise saw the capitulation of Granada, signed by Boabdil. 
The accounts of the Great Captain were likewise exhibited, 
accounts which were so remarkably extravagant that 
the " Cuentas del Gran Capitan," became a bye-word in 
Spain for any unusual expenditure of money. Simancas 
is an old town, and its strong castle, once belonging 
to the Henriquez, was afterwards used as a state prison 
by the Sovereigns of Castile, and Philip II. had the 
archives arranged here. It may have answered very well 
for this purpose, when the Court held its residence at 
Valladolid, but now it is at a most inconvenient distance 
from the capital. 



Simancas possesses an additional interest in the eyes 
of visitors from Ireland, as having been the place where 
Red Hugh O'Donel died in 1602, when he came to 
Spain after the triumph of the English arms at Kinsale, 
to seek for aid at the Court of Philip III. Although 
he did not obtain the assistance he sought from the King, 
he was honoured in death, and interred with great pomp, 
as it is related by the ancient chroniclers in their own 
simple style : 

"And when he arrived at the town, which is called 
Simancas, two leagues from Valladolid, where the King's 
court was, God permitted, and the misfortunes of the 
i>land of Heremon would have it, that O'Donel should 
take the sickness of his dissolution ; and after lying 
seventeen days on the bed, he died on the 10th of 
September (1602), in the house which the King of Spain 
himself had in the town of Simancas, after lamenting his 
crimes and transgressions, after a rigid penance for his 
sins, after making his confession without reserve to his 
confessors, and receiving the body and blood of Christ, 
and after being duly anointed by the hands of his own 
confessors and ecclesiastical attendants, Father O'Mul- 
conry (then confessor and spiritual adviser to O'Donel, 
afterwards Archbishop of Tuam on that account), and 
Father Maurice Dunlevy, a poor friar of the order of 
Saint Francis, from the convent of the monastery of 
Donegal, which town was one of O'Donel's fortresses. 
His body was conveyed to the King's palace at Valladolid, 
in a four-wheeled hearse, surrounded by countless numbers 
of the King's state officers, council and guards, with 
luminous torches, and bright flambeaux of beautiful wax 
lights burning on each side of him. He was afterwards 
interred in the Monastery of St. Francis, in the Chapter 
precisely, with veneration and honour, and in the most 
solemn manner that any of the Gaels had been interred 



in before. Masses and many hymns, chaunts, and melo- 
dious canticles, were celebrated for the welfare of his 
soul ; and his requiem was sung with becoming solemnity." 

Not a vestige now remains of this Convent of Saint 
Francis. It has been swept away from the earth ; modern 
houses and crowded streets now occupy the site of this 
ancient edifice. It was founded by Berenguela, in 1210, 
she, who abdicated the crown in favour of her son Saint 
Ferdinand. The monks were first established on the 
banks of the river, about a quarter of a league from 
Valladolid, in the time of Alfonso el Sabio ; its inmates 
were removed by his wife, Dona Violante, to the interior 
of the town, near the great plaza, where the Church of 
Santiago now stands. A portion of it was devoted to 
a royal palace, and here Maria de Molina died ; and 
it is often mentioned in the history of Valladolid. 

All traces of these things have now vanished, and 
the ashes of Hugh O'Donel have shared the fate of many 
heroes of the land in which he died. Spain is a country 
where the remains of the dead are less respected than 
in any other, and where, as we have seen, even from 
the days of the Cid, they have been changed about, or 
scattered to the winds, as each succeeding revolution has 
swept over the land. After the usual round of the 
churches has been gone through, there is little to tempt 
the traveller to linger at Valladolid, and we turned our 
eyes towards Leon. 

We took the "berlina," or coupe of the diligence, 
which fortunately happened to be vacant ; the chances 
being against us, as we had to take it up as it passed 
through from Madrid. We started in the evening, and 
passed Rioseco in the dark, a town formerly of some 
importance. If the whole journey could have been 
performed at night, it would have been all the more 
agreeable, for uninteresting as La Mancha and the 



Castiles are generally, the journey from Valladolid to 
Leon surpassed in dull monotony anything we had yet 
seen. There was not the slightest undulation in the 
ground to relieve the eye, and the misery and poverty of 
the inhabitants of the villages through which we passed, 
formed a titting accompaniment to the dreariness of the 
country. Here and there you see small bee-hive-looking 
places, subterranean cellars, where the produce of the 
vintage is preserved. The whole distance is three-and- 
twenty leagues, and the sameness of the scene was only 
varied about three leagues before we reached Leon at 
Mansilla, a village surrounded by old walls. 

Crowds of country people were assembled, at a large 
fair which was being held, and the scene was very 
picturesque and animated ; the men wore every variety 
of hat, from the old pointed peaks, with their silky tufts, 
to the modern pincushion sombrero, which has not, 
however, become so much the fashion here as in Anda- 
lucia. They were enveloped in dark brownish cloaks, 
apparently the natural colour of the wool ; the women 
had gay-coloured petticoats and wooden shoes, something 
like the French sabot, called here " madrenas," which are 
universally used in Leon. We took up several passengers, 
and all the remainder of the road met troops of country 
people flocking into Mansilla with their horses and mules 
for sale. It commenced pouring in torrents, and the 
an gather, which gave us so unhospitable a greeting upon 
our arrival in Leon, never condescended to clear up 
entirely during the ten days we remained there. 

The town is rather well situated, on the slope of a low 
hill, with a rich valley before it, the towers of the cathedral 
forming a prominent feature in the landscape. It is rather 
disappointing on a first view, after the lovely spires of 
Burgos. Our arrival, too, was not the best calculated to 
give us a pleasing first impression of this venerable city. 



There were no rooms in the posada where the diligence 
stopped ; we had fortunately been recommended to a 
private house by a friend of ours, and started off in 
pursuit of more comfortable quarters. After some 
difficulty in finding the house, we were welcomed by 
a most civil little woman, who seemed anxious to entertain 
us as well as she could ; she had, however, but little at 
her disposal, and that little was of a very primitive nature. 
She had only one room to offer us with two alcoves in it, 
but we discovered a small closet for the photographic 
apparatus, and settled ourselves with becoming resig- 
nation. The preparations for our ablutions were not 
on a very extensive scale, one of those mysteriously 
shaped basins used by barbers with a piece cut out of 
the border to admit the chin, and which the sorrowful 
knight mistook for a helmet, was all we could obtain. 
Neither candlesticks nor lamps abounded, but the woman 
of the house suggested they were not necessary ; and 
spilling a few drops of wax on the floor, stuck the candle 
upright — a thing which though apparently easy we did 
not prove adepts in imitating. 

As to comfort, it would be vain to expect it in a 
Spanish house during such weather. In the south, 
where winter lasts so short a time, one can understand 
its being more advisable to make preparations again-t 
heat, and submit to the cold; but here, in the north of 
Spain, where the winters are longer, and the climate 
much more resembling that of England than of Andalucia, 
it seems strange they should not take more precautions 
to make themselves warm within their houses. The doors 
and windows let in the air in every direction, and then 
they have nothing but the " brasero" to heat the room. 

There they sit shivering, their shawls and cloaks 
wrapped round them, trying to avail themselves of the 
small amount of heat its ashes diffuse. Sometimes they 



place it under a table pierced with holes, and well covered 
down to the ground with thick green baize : when seated 
at the table, the warmth to the feet is very pleasant. 
Foreigners in general do not approve of the " brasero," 
the heat is not sufficient, and the charcoal affects the 
head ; and although from habit I have got rather to like 
them than otherwise, when you only require a trifling 
degree of warmth, I cannot praise them so enthusiastically 
as a native of the country would do ; I hope, therefore, I 
shall be excused when I allow 7 a Spaniard to speak for 
himself on this subject, and transcribe the following 
description from the pages of a modern author, whose 
satirical sketches of life and manners are much admired 
by his countrymen in the present day. 

" The ' brasero' is a thing so purely Spanish, that it w ill 
be vain to look for a word answering to it in any foreign 
language ; not being good hands at translations, we 
aspire, although unworthily, to the name of originals. 
It is nevertheless true, although much to be regretted, 
that if things take their present course, the country of the 
Cid will soon have but little left peculiar to itself : the 
laws, the literature, the manners and customs of our 
ancestors will disappear, and even now there is not much 

" When that day comes, the ' brasero' will be put aside, 
as an old-fashioned piece of furniture; its place will be 
filled by the French or English fire-place ; the small brass 
shovel will yield to the bellows, and we shall blow the fire 
instead of scraping the ashes together. 

" AVhile this sad event is impending, and in case to- 
morrow should witness its fulfilment, it does not appear 
to us out of place to leave some description of it stamped 
upon these pages, in the same manner that the dexterous 
sculptor impresses on w ax a countenance which is about 
to be buried in the earth. 



"Were we etymologists or genealogists, we might, 
perhaps, decide the quarrel between Covarrubias, who 
maintained that ' brasa,' and consequently ' brasero,' 
come from the Greek ' bras ;' and other authors, who 
declare the Spanish word to be the legitimate daughter 
of the Latin ' urasa,' which is descended in a direct line 
from ' urere but thanks to Heaven, we are far from 
lovers of such nice distinctions : Ave incline to more 
tangible proofs, and are willing to suppose cold to be 
the true cause and origin of the ' brasero,' and consequently 
we do hereby confess and believe as an article of faith, 
that if there had not been such a thing as winter, the 
' brasero' would never have been invented. 

" So far so good — * who invented it ?' we shall be asked, 
and we will answer in a straightforward manner, ' the 
first person who felt cold.' Adam was the first man 
who became subject to all the miseries to which flesh 
is heir ; one of those miseries was doubtless cold, ergo, 
our father Adam, the first who felt cold, was without 
doubt the inventor of the ' brasero.' 

" This discovery, like every other, underwent a pro- 
gressive development ; w T e see the vine-leaves gradually 
transformed into the Roman purple ; and thus the 'brasero,' 
which began probably by being a stone pierced with a 
hole, became in time a most elegant piece of furniture. 
Already in the sixteenth century a law was enacted to 
this effect : " We hereby command that from this time 
henceforth no brasero of any form whatever shall be made 
of silver." This law has naturally become a dead letter, 
for the motive which dictated it has passed away, and 
silver now is not so abundant as to be employed for 
' braseros.' 

" With the lapse of time this primitive custom was 
changed and altered according to the different countries, 
climates, and laws enjoyed by man, but one and the same 



truth was always recognised; that in order not to feel 
eold, it was necessary to burn some combustible material. 
In this all have agreed ; they have differed only in its 
application ; some burning the branches of oak, others 
the trunks ; some vegetable coal, others mineral ; in short, 
all have made use of that which was most easily obtained. 

" So much for the material ; as to the form, it would be 
endless to describe the variety of shapes assumed — the 
principle may be reduced to four. The blazing hearth 
in the centre of the room, the fire-place at the side, the 
stove and the 1 brasero.' 

" Give me the Spanish ' brasero,' pure and primitive 
type ! with its simple circular stand, its white ashes, its 
red-hot charcoal, its exciting shovel, and its protecting 
wire-work cover ; give me its gentle, tranquil heat, the 
centre towards which sociability converges, its circular 
accompaniment of joyous faces. Give me the mutual 
confidence which its mild warmth imparts, the equality 
with which this is distributed ; and if, between two lights, 
give me the tranquil brilliancy diffused by its bright-red 
coals, softly reflecting the fire of two Arab eyes, the 
transparency of an oriental skin. 

" It is true that the aristocratic fire-place contributes 
more to the embellishment of splendid rooms, it spreads 
a higher temperature around, and there is no doubt that 
it> lively, restless, fantastic glowing flames rejoice the sight 
of the peaceful spectator. But in exchange, what a tiring 
glare for the eyes ! what burning flushes in the cheeks ! 
And when it smokes (which often happens), and the 
wind and rain come down the chimney ! and then what 
risk and alarm when the flames catch the tails of a coat, 
or the flounces of a dress, or when it alarms and com- 
promises the safety of the neighbourhood by ascending 
its hollow way to visit the interior of the walls, and 
illuminate the tiles of the roofs ! 

D D 



" Besides, how can the fire-place be compared to the 
' brasero' under a social aspect ? 

" In the first place, the fire-place is unjust, and a lover 
of exclusiveness ; it confers all its favours on the two 
fortunate beings who are seated on either side, saluting 
the rest of its worshippers but slightly ; the ' brasero,' on 
the contrary, is socialist, and distributes its benefits 
equally to all its members. The fire-place is semi- 
circular, the ' brasero' round and eternal, like all circles, 
without beginning or end ; the fire-place burns without 
warming, the £ brasero' warms without burning. The fire- 
place requires all the ' entourage ' of a modern throne, 
with its responsible ministers of poker, tongs, and shovel, 
to seize and collect; its brush to sweep; its fender to 
guard it ; its public opinion to fan and rouse it by mean> 
of the bellows ; its responsibility, which vanishes in 
smoke — the patriarchal ' brasero' reigns and governs alone, 
or at most with its small brass shovel for a sceptre. 

"And if you examine it, solely under the aspect of 
tending to the confidence of love, you must still give 
the preference to the ' brasero.' 

"Let us picture to ourselves two lovers, in the first 
bloom of their rising affection, seated opposite each other 
on each side of a fire-place ; to begin, they are two yards 
distant from each other, which is not convenient for 
telling secrets, (you might as well deprive the olla of 
salt, as love of secresy.) In the second place, they are 
ensconced in two enormous and softly-cushioned arm- 
chairs ; their faces cannot endure the brilliancy of the 
flame, and their flushed cheeks take shelter behind the 
shade of a screen, or the projecting corners of the 
chimney-piece ; take away the expression of the features 
from love, and it loses its firmest support, for the counte- 
nance is the responsible editor of love. 

" Then if the gentleman has to kneel, his garments are 



endangered by coming in contact with the black-lead 
of the hearth, and if he has to surprise a careless hand, 
his own comes in contact with the poker and tongs. 

" Around the ' brasero,' on the contrary, there can be no 
fear of such disagreeable accidents ; there a tiny foot is 
not removed above an inch from one of more masculine 
proportions ; and it is so easy to shorten that inch ! — 
two snowy hands are extended over the burning ashes, 
exactly opposite two others clothed in the whitest gloves, 
and it is so natural to shorten distances ! — and then 
several things must be examined, the quality of those 
gloves, the shape of the jewelled rings ; a look of in- 
telligence is exchanged, some other pretext is discovered, 
and farewell to the snowy hand which — has melted with 
the heat of the ' brasero.' 

" The magic influence of this piece of furniture has 
likewise a soporific quality, which works upon the heads 
of guardians and duenas, inducing them involuntarily to 
take refuge in the arms of Morpheus ; and if to this 
influence should be added that of a Madrid newspaper, 
lopped of its leading article by the unsparing axe of the 
Government censor, the effect is certain, and all fall 
asleep, from the watchful grandmother to the purring cat. 

" All these advantages are possessed by the national 
' brasero.' We are told, it is true, of treaties and pro- 
tocols arranged by grave diplomatists in the chimney- 
corner ; but in truth, those which are settled over the 
1 brasero ' are not less important, while the hands are care- 
lessly giving a pyramidal form to the heated charcoal, 
and the small shovel is passing lovingly over the ashes. 

" We see, therefore, that neither in a social nor in a 
political point of view can the beneficent influence of the 
English fire-place be compared to that of the Spanish 
' brasero.' As far as economy is concerned it must have 
the preference, being more within the reach of all, and 

d n 2 



more certain in its effect; and as far as regards shape it 
must carry away the palm. 

" And yet, in spite of all this, the ' brasero' is disappear- 
ing as knightly costumes have disappeared ; and cloaks and 
mantillas are vanishing, as well as the patriotism of our 
ancestors, the faith of our forefathers, and our own 
national belief. And the foreign fire-place, the exotic 
bonnet, the uncivilized great-coat, the laws and literature 
of strangers, and the customs and languages of other 
people are possessing themselves of that society which 
disowns its own history, of that ungrateful child which 
affects not to remember its ancestors. Let us assi>t. 
therefore, at the last leave-taking of the ' brasero,' but 
before we say farewell, we must bestow on it a gentle 
tribute, as is the custom of those about to inter one who 
is deceased : 

"May its ashes be light !" 




Los siglos a los siglos se atropellan, 
Los hombrcs a los hombres se succden, 
Eu la vejez sus ealeidos se estrellau, 
Su pompa y glorias a la muerte ceden ; 
La lnz que sus rspiritus dcstellan 
Muere en la niebla que veucer no pueden, 
Y es la bistoria del hombre y su locura 
Una estrecha v hedionda sepultnra. 

El Diablo Munpo. 






We established ourselves very tolerably in our new 
abode, and joined the circle in the evening round the 
brasero. There was also another lady staying in the 
house, the wife of an " empleado." She was a Madri- 
leiia ; and the poor woman was always sighing over 
the luxuries of her beloved Madrid, and the misery of 



being banished to such a place as Leon. It is, in fact, 
nothing better than a large village, and its chief popu- 
lation seem to be the staff of clergy attached to the 
cathedral, an establishment once well befitting the capital 
of a kingdom, but existing now in utter mockery of its 
present fallen state. 

Oviedo was the first capital of the infant sovereignty of 
the Christians, as they were struggling for independence 
in the mountain fastnesses of the Asturias, but by the 
beginning of the tenth century they gradually extended 
their conquests, and established their court at Leon. In 
those days, Leon was often taken by the Moors, and 
reconquered by the Christians ; it Avas captured by the 
great Almansor in 996, who razed it to the ground ; but 
it was soon after rebuilt, and remained the seat of govern- 
ment until the death of Bermudo, last King of Leon, in 
1037, when Fernando, King of Castile, united it to his 
own dominions in right of his wife, Bermudo's sister. 
The two crowns were at times again divided, until at 
length they were finally united by St. Ferdinand in 

The cathedral is here the first object of interest. After 
Burgos, the exterior is disappointing ; the large tower-, 
of a rich-coloured stone, are surmounted by spires which 
do not rise to a sufficient elevation. There is a beautiful 
rose-window over three noble arches, which form almost 
a portico, so deeply recessed are the doorways within. 
Between these large arches are the lofty, narrow-pointed 
ones, which produce a most original effect. The interior is 
lovely ; it grows upon you each successive time that you 
enter it, and in elegance and lightness it stands unrivalled. 
It is narrow and lofty ; and before the lower tier of 
windows were blocked up, it must have appeared as 
though it had been built of glass. It is a miracle of 
architecture ; and on a first visit, you are not sufficiently 



impressed with the slightness of the walls, making one 
wonder how the building could have stood so long in this 
stormy climate. This is the type of the light and 
elegant in architecture, as Seville is of the massive and 
imposing : it would be impossible to compare the two, 
except as they form a contrast to each other. Both are 
beautiful; and in Seville you may feel overwhelmed by 
the sombre majesty which clothes religious worship in 
its severest form. In Leon, the heart looks upward 
with joyousness, and the fairy columns and variegated 
windows make one think of the worship of a God of peace 
and love. 

I spent many hours drawing within its Avails ; and 
even* hour I lingered there, I admired it more and more. 
It has but three aisles, and there are no side chapels, which 
is unusual. Formerly there were two rows of painted 
glass windows, but the lower row has unfortunately been 
blocked up ; the cloisters having been built against the 
walls on one side, and the other probably arranged to 
correspond. Such painted glass windows are seldom seen, 
the colours vie with those of the rainbow, and the deep 
tones of the reds and greens are unsurpassed ; would that 
the glorious rays of the sun, as they strain through, could 
fall upon the beautiful cream-coloured stone, in all their 
changing hues ; then, indeed, the effect of those windows 
would be unrivalled ; but, alas ! the hand of a barbarous 
taste has passed over its walls. The interior has been 
whitewashed, and all the delicate capitals coloured with 
a yellowish tinge. Man has done his best to injure the 
beauty of this temple — but it triumphs still. 

Beneath the clerestory windows runs a gallery of 
double-pointed arches with a decorated parapet, apparently 
almost the only solid piece of masonry in the walls, for the 
windows are so large, and so close together, it seems 
hardly possible that the roof can be supported by any- 



thing so fragile. There are chapels round the apse, and 
at the back of the high altar, is the tomb of Ordono III., 
who died in 923, and is supposed to have been the 
founder of the original edifice erected on this site. The 
present cathedral appears to have been erected towards 
the close of the twelfth century. A story is told that 
Ordono, after one of his victories, desired his chaplain to 
prepare the best edifice in Leon, and consecrate it as 
a church. The worthy priest hurried back, and not 
finding anything better adapted for his purpose than the 
King's own palace, instantly took possession of it, and 
the story goes, that his royal master, on his return to 
his capital, was not overpleased at finding his orders had 
been so literally complied with. 

It is dedicated to Santa Maria de Regla, and the well- 
known saying gives it the following place among the 
Spanish cathedrals : 

Sevilla en grandeza, Toledo en riqueza 
Compostella en fortalcza, Leon en sntileza. 

There are no iron screens either before the high altar 
or the choir, which gives it additional lightness. Lovely 
as these rejas are, they choke up the churches, and it 
is quite a relief not to see them. An enormous retablo, 
richly gilt, disfigures the high altar, being much too 
heavy for the building, and in the worst taste. A richly- 
sculptured silver tabernacle is placed in the centre, and 
the view from hence, standing behind the altar, is 
charming, facing, as it does, the exquisite rose window 
over the principal entrance. The trascoro is ornamented 
with the most splendid alabaster sculptures, adorned 
with gilding ; it produces a very rich effect, but this is 
considerably injured by a large blue door, which the 
canons have put up to make their stalls warmer and more 
comfortable. The cold of this cathedral is intense, and 



to that I can fully bear witness, for although one of the 
canons, whose acquaintance we made, was extremely kind, 
and used to have a good hot " brasero" placed close to 
me while 1 was drawing, my fingers were nearly frozen. 
The thinness of the walls and the quantity of glass, must 
cause this peculiarity, for, generally, churches are the 
coolest places in summer, and the warmest in winter. 

The services are very well performed, and I have 
seldom seen in Spain a more devout congregation, than 
were assembled there on Sunday. The sacristy does 
not contain anything worth seeing ; all the plate vanished 
during the French invasion. The chapel of Santiago is 
very elegant, of the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, and 
if possible, the windows surpass those of the cathedral. 
The adjoining cloisters are very large, forming a most 
delightful promenade for the chapter. The Gothic arches 
are supported by elaborately decorated, plateresque 
pilasters. An exquisite staircase, highly ornamented, 
leads up to the Sala Capitular ; from the windows you 
look out upon the old city walls, which now run through 
the centre of the town ; in fact, these walls join on to 
the cathedral, and continue along the southern side. On 
the side of the cathedral, opposite to the cloisters, stands 
the Bishop's palace, and although I have witnessed many 
scenes of wretchedness and misery, I never saw such 
beggars as came out of that palace early one morning, 
when we happened to be passing. Such bundles of rags, 
such a mass of dirt and poverty ! They were the very 
picture of distress ; they had all been to receive the 
weekly charity of the Bishop, and never was charity more 
required, if one might trust to appearances. They all 
had the usual wooden shoes, which one feels half disposed 
to envy them in the muddy streets of Leon ; they are 
not allowed to wear them in the churches, on account 
of the clatter they make. 



The Plaza in front of the cathedral, is barely large 
enough to obtain a good view of the edifice, and Mr. T. 
was obliged to put up his instrument on the balcony of 
a chemist's shop opposite. Nothing could equal the 
civility of the master of the house. He was a travelled 
gentleman, and had been in England to see the Exhibi- 
tion ; he did not, however, seem much impressed with 
the charms of our climate ; and when we suggested that 
that of Leon was quite as bad, if not worse, he begged 
us to recollect that we were then in November, and that 
in Leon they had not such weather in summer. His 
drawing-room had its sofa and chairs placed in due form ; 
everything was placed immediately at our disposal, to make 
of it whatever use we thought proper. 

Let the traveller make up his mind, to treat all ranks of 
Spaniards with a certain degree of courtesy, and he will 
always get on. Here it is no use imagining, because a 
person is beneath you in his rank of life, that he is to 
be treated as an inferior. He is a Castilian, and that 
in his estimation is sufficient reason for him to be 
considered on an equality with the proudest noble in 
the land, as he will soon give you to understand, if you 
do not treat him with becoming deference. This equality 
is perhaps one of the strangest things in Spain, and the 
free and easy style, in particular, with which servants treat 
their masters, strikes one at first as most extraordinary. 
They are extremely independent in manner ; and as they 
neither give, nor require a month's warning, as with us, 
they very often announce to you in the morning, that 
they intend leaving, and take their departure in the 
evening, much to the inconvenience of the household 
arrangements. This excessive independence is one reason, 
doubtless, why it is so difficult to procure good ser- 
vants ; even the natives of the country complain of them 
much, and therefore it is no wonder that it proves so 



particularly disagreeable to people accustomed to English 

After the cathedral, the most remarkable thing is the 
C hurch of San Isidoro, which has the high privilege of 
having the Host always visible on the altar. It is a most 
picturesque jumble of all sorts and styles of architecture, 
and the time-worn hues of the stone, throw a rich colour 
over its dilapidated exterior. It was built by Ferdinand, 
in 1603, to receive the remains of San Isidoro, the great 
Archbishop of Seville, whose body once rested in the 
Hermitage of San Isidoro del Campo, near that city. The 
Saint appears over the principal entrance, fighting the 
Moors in true Santiago style, for he too used to appear 
and encourage his faithful followers on the field of battle. 
Inside, it is a plain Gothic building ; at the end, facing 
the altar, a low open iron door leads you into the Panteon 
de los Reyes, the sepulchre of many of the early Sovereigns 
of Castile and Leon. The roof of this small chapel is 
curiously painted, and still remains in its original state, 
having escaped the destruction which awaited all the 
portions of it within reach, during the French invasion. 

Nothing can be worse than the restorations, the 
walls have been painted, and the tombs likewise, which 
»ives the stone sarcophagi the appearance of wooden 
boxes. For some time the bodies were exposed to view, 
but the clergy have latterly had them enclosed in their 
coffins. On leaving this chapel by the cloisters, an in- 
scription, in large gilt letters, strikes the eye, declaring 
that, "This precious monument of antiquity, the depo- 
sitory of the ashes of so many pious kings, was destroyed 
by the French, in 1809." There are inscribed the records 
of an invasion, which rendered this unhappy country for 
so many years one constant scene of war and bloodshed ; 
an invasion, in which perished monuments of art, treasures 
of bv-£one davs, which all the eold of Australia could not 



replace. That scenes of horror are ever the inseparable 
accompaniments of war — that in the storming of towns 
events may occur, and destruction be effected, which, how- 
ever much they may afterwards be deplored, are at the 
moment beyond the restraining power of those in command 
— all this is indisputable ; but the wholesale plunder and 
destruction, carried on under the authority and sanction 
of the French generals, never can be justified. Trave l 
over Spain, from one corner to the other, and the same 
tale will be repeated — everything was carried off by the 

Nothing was too sacred for their sacrilegious hands 
to plunder; the triumphs of architecture were wantonly 
destroyed ; churches were converted into stables ; and the 
men wdio could sanction such deeds, did not hesitate to 
carry off all that seemed worthy of pillage. The glorious 
creations of Murillo were torn from the altars, over whic h 
they were placed ; the walls of the convents were stripped, 
that the choicest productions of art might grace the hall> 
of some French Marshal, or the galleries of the Imperial 
palace; and the matchless works, on which the taste 
and skill of the Arfes had been bestowed, were melted 
down, to satisfy the cupidity of the conquerors. The 
canvas of Murillo may still adorn the walls of foreign 
mansions, and rejoice the eyes of the lover of painting-, 
but the creations of Arfe can never be replaced. The 
costly materials in which they were fashioned ensured 
their destruction. 

Spaniards may indeed be excused for the bitterness of 
feeling, the hatred they entertain, for their neighbours 
beyond the Pyrenees. In peace or in war, their influence 
has alike been baneful to the Peninsula ; and although 
it may be uncharitable to remember grievances, which 
occurred so many years ago, unfortunately they were of 
a class, the memory of which cannot be easily effaced. 



In visiting their plundered churches and ruined buildings, 
the remembrance of treasures of art and of national glory, 
irretrievably destroyed, is continually forced upon their 
recollection ; and wherever questions are asked, the one 
answer is invariably returned — it was the work of the 

It must, however, be acknowledged, in justice to the 
French, that, however severe may be the censure which 
foreigners may pass upon their conduct : the Spaniards, 
as a nation, have forfeited the right to abuse them, for 
they have followed in the footsteps of their invaders, and 
profited by their example. When the regular orders 
were abolished, no means were taken to preserve even 
what had been left ; many works of art disappeared in 
the general confusion which followed, and the most 
splendid triumphs of architecture — exquisite memorials 
of the piety of the mediawal ages — are now nothing more 
than mouldering walls left to ruin and decay ; and this 
has been done by the Spaniards themselves. They have 
completed what the French left unfinished ; and the first 
half of the nineteenth century has been, in truth, a 
sad epoch for the painting, the sculpture, and the archi- 
tecture of Spain ! 

The convent attached to the church of San Isidoro is 
happily situated close to the city walls, along the top 
of which the monks had a pleasant walk, and enjoyed 
a charming view over the country. The church has a 
fine square tower which rises most picturesquely above 
the walls, which are in very good preservation, with 
their massive semi-circular towers. Not far distant is 
the grand pile of the convent of St. Mark, the facade 
of which is really splendid. It is a noble building, stand- 
ing close to the river, and the facade is adorned with 
medallions and pilasters, wreathed with the most delicate 
plateresque work. The church has a Gothic portal, but 



the interior is entirely a ruin ; in fact, the whole building 
had been put up to sale by auction, and was only saved 
by the Ayuntamiento purchasing it for the Institute. It 
is in a miserable condition, and students are decidedly not 
the class of people most calculated to preserve a building. 
It belonged to the knights of Santiago : one of those 
many princely establishments which they erected to afford 
shelter to pilgrims on the road to Compostella in the 
troublesome days of petty feuds and intestine warfare. A 
pretty stone cross stands in the open space in front of the 

All is now solitary and deserted: nothing passing in 
this direction, except a few country people and huge, 
unwieldy carts, drawn by oxen, dragging their burdens 
along. The wheels are very primitive ; they have no 
spokes, but are formed solely of a circular piece of 
wood, with four slits, as it were, cut out of it. Now 
and then a long string of mules may be seen belonging 
to the Maragatos, a peculiar race of people who are the 
" arrieros" of this part of Spain, and monopolise all 
the traffic to and fro on the roads. They wear a 
distinct costume of their own, which gives them almost a 
Flemish appearance, with their slouched hats, wide full 
trowsers gathered in at the knees, and leather jerkin. 
They are a strange set of people, and keep very much to 
themselves, rarely marrying out of their own class ; they 
are always wandering about from place to place, as their 
trade naturally obliges them, but their head-quarters are at 
Astorga, and its adjacent district, comprising about thirty - 
six villages, chiefly inhabited by Maragatos. Some of 
them are very wealthy ; their origin is enveloped in 
obscurity, and little is known respecting them. 

There are several very curious old churches in Leon, 
with low sloping roofs and little porticos, rather in the 
style of some small village churches in England : we were 



not able to see the interior, as they close them so early. 
A family to whom we had been introduced, and who 
was most kind in doing the honours of Leon, took me 
to visit one or two of the convents; but we could not 
penetrate within the iron gratings, and were obliged to 
content ourselves with looking at the pretty faces of the 
nuns, and talking to them at a respectful distance. The 
nunneries in general do not contain many architectural 
beauties. Unlike monasteries, they were rarely built 
expressly for the purpose for which they were afterwards 
occupied ; more generally they were mansions of the 
nobility, bequeathed or made over to women for con- 
ventual purposes, and as such may be interesting from 
having undergone but few changes. 

One which we visited, the Franciscan Convent of the 
Conception, was founded by Dona Leonor, daughter of 
the first Count of Luna in 1518. She gave up her own 
house for the purpose, and many pious nuns issued from 
its walls to establish other convents of the same order in 
Toro Villafranca, &c. We went to see another belonging 
to the Benedictines, the black dress of the order being 
most becoming to some very pretty girls who were there. 
The Lady Abbess here can receive her visitors very 
comfortably, for instead of having a small reja, which is 
usually the case, the iron grating extends across the whole 
room. They always overpower one with " dulces ;" and 
they sent me away with such a quantity, that as I walked 
through the streets, I felt quite like a little school-girl, 
who had been petted, because she was a good child. 
We must not laugh, however, but take it as it is meant, in 
true warm-hearted kindness. 

The Dominican Convent of the Santa Catalina has, since 
the death of the last nun, been converted into a library 
for the use of the inhabitants ; and on the staircase, and 
in the principal room, pictures, collected from the old 



convents, have been placed. Great has been the havoc 
committed in Leon among the monasteries. That of San 
Francisco has been destroyed, and the beautiful Gothic 
cloister of San Clodio has been entirely demolished ; ir 
was sold a short time ago for four thousand reals, and has 
since been pulled down, and the materials sold. They 
went partly to assist in making the roads ; and a gentle- 
man assured us he had seen some of the statues, which 
formerly decorated it, broken up on the new high road 
that has lately been made into Galicia. The Plaza de 
los Condes is very picturesque : a tall tower marks the 
palace of the Counts of Luna, and a pretty window still 
exists over the gateway. The facade has been coloured 
yellow ; and in the ruined patio, porphyry columns, frag- 
ments of Berruguete staircases, and arabesque ornament-, 
peer out from heaps of dust and rubbish. Some of the 
eaves of the houses are most elaborately carved; and 
altogether, there are some very pretty scenes in the streets 
and plazas of this decaying town. 

The large square is of course called Plaza de la Con- 
stitution, and dearly do Spaniards treasure that little 
tablet which generally bears the first article of their 
constitution graven upon it above the name. Poor 
people ! it serves to remind them they have such a thing, 
and it is well they have adopted this medium of pro- 
claiming it to the world ; had they not done so, it would 
have been difficult to believe it, and they would run a 
very good chance of forgetting it themselves. But they 
treasure it fondly, and an insult offered to that stone sink- 
deeper into their hearts than all the insults their govern- 
ments offer to the reality. I have never seen accounts 
of real crime related with more indignation, than an 
attempt lately made in a small village by some evil- 
disposed person to efface this much-cherished name. 
When the inhabitants awoke one fine morning, they were 



shocked at finding the tablet covered with a plaster of 
mud, hardened as the soul of him who could have planned 
so vile a deed ; and on this were inscribed the words, 
" Plaza Real ;" the majesty of the people had been 
insulted, and alcaldes, judges, and magistrates of every 
degree were called in to discover the monster who had 
committed so atrocious a crime. So long, indeed, as they 
are satisfied with having the name of the Constitution 
written up in their squares, they are right to cherish it 
so tenderly. 

The Plaza at Leon has arcades round three sides of 
it, and on the fourth stands the Consistorio, flanked by 
two square towers with spires. People were promenading 
up and down in great numbers, it being the most sheltered 
place at this season. The inhabitants of Leon seem to 
have some idea of amusing themselves in their own way ; 
they have established a casino, where there is a billiard- 
table, and where ladies go to take coffee, enveloped in 
clouds of smoke. The members have fitted it up very 
neatly, and give occasional balls. We went to the theatre 
one night to have a glimpse of the beau-monde of Leon ; 
the actors did not seem very first-rate, but they gave one 
or two farces, amusing from their very absurdity. Some 
of the humbler class wore a red mantilla, bordered with 
black, which had a very gay appearance. Going out in 
the evening through the narrow and ill-paved street is not 
a very lively amusement, more particularly as w alking is 
the fashion, carriages not having yet been introduced. 

There are still several houses of the nobility existing ; 
the most interesting and perhaps the most imposing is 
that of the Guzmans, where Guzman el Bueno was 
born, the same who is buried near Seville. Almost in 
ruins, it is now appropriated to some of the offices of the 
local government authorities. The view of the tower 
of San Isidoro, and part of the city walls, form a pretty 

E E 



picture from the Plaza in front of this house, and opposite 
to it is the hospital, with old wooden galleries round the 
patio. The weather prevented our exploring the out-of- 
the-way corners of this town, and obliged us to change 
our route, and return to Valladolid by the road we came, 
and thence direct to Madrid. This we regretted much, 
for we had wished to see a little more of these ancient 
Castilian cities, and had intended returning by Zamora 
and Salamanca, visiting the battle-field where the Duke of 
Wellington reaped such laurels, and taking a glance at 
Avila, where there is much to interest, although it is but 
little known. 

From Leon to Benavente and Zamora there are no 
means of conveyance except riding, and that could not 
be thought of at this season of the year. There are 
diligences now from Madrid to Leon, which continue on 
to Oviedo and Coruna. The mountain passes between 
Leon and Oviedo were already covered with snow, and 
we had to wait for the arrival of these diligences before 
we knew whether we could have places. Instead of 
arriving at the usual hour, they did not come in till 
two in the morning, and we had to sit up all night to 
await their arrival. At length we were told there were 
places, and we had a wretched walk in the dark and in 
the rain down to the Posada. At length we started, 
and were obliged to fraternize with our servant, a Gali- 
cian, as there was no place vacant, but in the interior 
with us. Our other companion was one of the officials 
of the diligence company. If the interminable plains 
had appeared dreary on coming, their appearance was 
tenfold more miserable on our return ; the whole face of 
nature wore a look of dreariness, the country was under 
water, and the mules could hardly drag the heavy vehicle 
through the soft mud. We were told afterwards that our 
companion was the owner of the mules, and consequently 



the coachman did not venture to drive fast so long as he 
\\ as with us. 

We stopped at a miserable village to have some dinner, 
where they were not prepared to receive us, and the 
cooking presented rather an amusing study. The only 
fuel was chopped straw, and it was perfectly mysterious, 
with such primitive accessories, how anything could be 
prepared. The soup, however, was soon ready, consisting 
of bread, water, oil and a few eggs floating at the top, 
and a chicken, whose age must have been something 
patriarchal. Certainly those who are not prepared to 
digest anything, and make the best of whatever is set 
before them, will find travelling in Spain no very lively 
amusement ; but those who are not very particular will 
incur no risk of starvation, and find things probably 
better than they have been led to expect. Bread is 
always good, and an excellent cup of chocolate may 
generally be procured ; it is made very thick, and served 
in tiny little cups, with long thin biscuits, with which 
you are expected to scoop it up, spoons not being 

At the diligence-dinners some of the dishes may always 
be managed, and the sooner the traveller puts himself on 
an intimate footing with the olla the better ; for he will 
find it welcome him on every table, from one end of Spain 
to the other. It introduces itself to his notice at the com- 
mencement of every dinner, with its small piece of beef 
done to rags ; its attendant morsel of fat bacon and red 
sausage, which the traveller had better look upon with 
distrust, unless he has resolved before he enters Spain to 
count garlic among one of his favourite condiments ; and 
surrounded by its coronet of vegetables and garbanzos, 
that tough pea, which forms the delight of every 
Spaniard. A good olla well cooked is not a dish to 
be disdained, but in general it is so stringy that it is 

e e 2 



hardly eatable. Here all meat is done till it falls 
asunder ; it is not very tender in itself, and they 
seek to remedy this defect by stewing the little good 
there is out of it. The remonstrance of an Englishman, 
who complained bitterly of the badness of the meat, was 
answered with an indignant exclamation by the waiter, 
" that it was very extraordinary, for it had been on the 
fire upwards of five hours !" Except at the best hotels 
puddings and such things are unknown in Spanish 
cooking, dessert always following the last dish of meat, 
accompanied by some preserve, which is formed more 
of sugar than any other ingredient. Food fit for the 
gods, if there were anything in a name, for one of the 
most favourite dishes of this description is called " angel's 

The sight of a Spanish kitchen does not convey 
any great promise, and it is wonderful what can be 
produced by the few means at their disposal. A brick 
stove, with three or four holes for placing charcoal, 
on which small earthenware pots are always simmering, 
are the sole conveniences they can command. This, 
together with the natural toughness of the meat, which is 
more essentially felt when chickens are in the case, adds 
to the difficulty of making any dishes which would be 
palatable to those accustomed to a French cuisine. In 
travelling, of course the fowls are always killed on the 
arrival of the guest ; keeping them for a day or so is an 
idea which never enters their imaginations. A friend of 
ours, who was endeavouring to introduce English customs 
into his establishment, desired his servant to keep a fowl 
for two days before he cooked it. The fowl came to 
table, but as tough as usual ; when the case was inquired 
into, it was discovered that the fowl had been kept alive 
in the kitchen for two days, the man little dreaming his 
master meant it to be kept after it was killed. Stewed 



partridges arc an everlasting dish ; no game laws con- 
riniiiLr their destruction to within certain periods, they 
-coin to form the staple food, but are dry and tasteless, 
partly from being so much overdone, and their flavour is 
far inferior to our own. Hares, too, come to table very 
oft on, although suspicions are darkly hinted that cats 
sometimes appear under such a favourable disguise. 
Spaniards seldom drink tea or coffee, and it is difficult to 
procure either good. 

Our wretched attempt at dinner afforded sufficient topic 
for discussion on the road to Valladolid, to a fresh passenger 
we had in the interior, who was very indignant at having 
been made to pay six reals for so unsatisfactory a repast. 
Our new companion was most noisy and disagreeable, 
and as he occasionally joined in chorus with a very wild 
party who were in the rotonda, we were not sorry when 
we reached Valladolid. Our journey had occupied a 
much longer time than it ought to have done, on account 
of the state of the roads, and fresh delays awaited us 
here ; for the same reason — the diligence from Madrid was 
behind its time, and we had to wait till it arrived. The 
inn was full, so we had no resource but to join our 
companions at supper, and pass the night as we could, 
listening to their conversation. 

The other diligence arrived at about six in the morning, 
and delighted we were at the prospect of being able to 
continue our route. It came full of unhappy people, who 
had long journeys before them to Oviedo and Coruna, 
and among them a large Spanish family, consisting of a 
fat lady and her children, all looking very uncomfortable, 
as Spanish women always do when they are travelling ; 
they seem so resigned to their fate, and with their 
kerchiefs tied round their heads, await with patient 
resignation all that may befall them. We started, and 
had a irood four-and-twenty hours' journey before us to 



Madrid, even in the regular course of things, but now 
unfortunately it occupies above six-and-thirty. The only 
place of interest we passed was Olmedo, celebrated for 
several battles fought there in the fifteenth century. 
Here you begin to see the Guadarramas showing their 
bold outline, forming a barrier between those plains and 
the town of Madrid. 

Towards night we reached the Fonda San Rafael, a large 
inn where we had supper; and when day dawned, we were 
already crossing the range of the Guadarrama, the highest 
point which the road traverses, and which rises about 
five thousand feet above the level of the sea. The pass 
is finely laid out, and a marble lion stands at the summit, 
where you look down on the dreary, undulating plains of 
Castile. You descend by a gentle slope now to the village of 
Guadarrama, about seven leagues distant from Madrid ; here 
we stopped to breakfast at a w retched posada, dignified by 
the high-sounding title of the " Parador antigua de las 
dos Castillas." Here it seemed to be the right thing to 
take a glass of milk, and the blazing wood fire offered 
many temptations on that cold morning. The wind was 
bitter, with that piercing air which sweeps over the plain- 
around Madrid, and gives that capital the disagreeable 
climate for which it is noted. 

Just after passing Guadarrama to the right, a huge 
mass of building attracts the eye, rearing its colossal 
form against the slope of the mountain, the gleams of 
the sun resting on its grey-slated roofs and cupolas. 
This building is the Escorial, one of the most wondrous 
edifices ever raised by the hand of man. We must turn 
aside from the road, to visit this giant structure of 
the gloomy and ascetic Philip. Grand, indeed, is this 
vast convent palace, and few can gaze on it without 
feelings of emotion. The stern and sombre Escorial is 
a fit emblem of grave Castile, as the light and elegant 


4 23 

Alhambra is of sparkling Andalucia ! Both equally 
objects which rivet the attention of the traveller ; both 
unique, and yet so different. The convent palace of 
the Christian, the palace fortress of the Moslem! Both 
on the declivities of mountains, whose peaks are alike 
enveloped in wintry snows ; but the one looks over a 
scene of barren nakedness, while the other commands 
a plain teeming with vegetation. In the Escorial, the 
church and convent eclipse the splendour of the palace — 
in the Alhambra, the palace and the fortress mingle im- 
perceptibly together. The Escorial, whose soaring dome 
and lonely cloisters impress the mind with feelings of 
solitude and meditation — the Alhambra, whose fairy 
courts and sparkling fountains, speak only of ease and 
luxury. The one, befitting temple of a faith, which 
preached repentance and mortification — the other, meet 
emblem of a people, whose creed breathes only of worldly 
enjoyment. Representatives of the days of monkish 
rule, and chivalrous adventure — types of ages, that have 
passed away, of classes, who have each done their allotted 
work in the great drama of the world — the cowled monk 
and the plumed knight, were each required in his day ; 
but new ideas and new feelings are now called into action, 
and neither is in keeping with the requirements of the 
nineteenth century ! 

The Escorial was a grand idea to be conceived and 
executed by one man ; it was a mighty sepulchre for the 
Sovereigns of a country, whose dominion was acknow- 
ledged throughout the world ; and a sepulchre it became, 
not only of the Kings, but of their country, and Spain 
lies buried, as it were, within the Escorial. Philip, who 
prepared that mighty mausoleum, paved the way for the 
fall of Spain ; and the proud inheritance he had received 
from the recluse of San Yuste, descended with diminished 
splendour to his son. The first thought of this edifice 



arose in Philip's mind on the field of San Quentin, when 
the French arms were vanquished, and victory proclaimed 
itself for Spain. Then the monarch resolved to dedi- 
cate a temple to San Lorenzo, where by night as well 
as by day, hymns of praise and thankfulness should be 
offered before the throne of the Most High. Some say, 
the choice of San Lorenzo was dictated from the circum- 
stance of the battle having been fought upon his festival ; 
but the Padre Villacastin says, that the King was influ- 
enced by having had to raze a monastery to the ground, 
that was dedicated to San Lorenzo, in order the better 
to assault San Quentin. One of his first thoughts on 
returning to Spain, was to commence the undertaking, 
and a commission was formed to choose the site. 

The situation thus selected, harmonized well with the 
gloomy fanaticism of the Sovereign, who sought a retreat 
from the world, yet not too distant from the capital of 
his dominions. The new monastery was offered to the 
followers of San Jerome, whose austere rules seemed most 
adapted to the ideas of the royal founder. At a chapter 
of the order, held in 1561, the offer was accepted; and 
a prior being elected, he and several friars went to reside 
in the village of the Escorial, a wretched and poverty- 
stricken place, in order that they might superintend the 
erection of their future habitation. The designs and 
erection were entrusted to Juan Bantista de Toledo, a 
Spanish architect, who had studied in Rome, and left 
evidence of his talent in the city of Naples, where among 
other things, the noble street which still preserves his 
name, bears witness to the genius now about to be 
exercised upon a wider field. His pupil Juan de Herrera, 
was shortly afterwards associated with him in the work, 
and lived to complete it. During the whole period of its 
erection, the Escorial appears never to have been absent 
from the mind of the monarch, amid all the important 



affairs, which occupied his attention ; and even when the 
kingdom of Portugal was added to his sway, he was busy 
for its adornment, while visiting his new capital on the 
hanks of the Tagus. Had the thought of fixing his resi- 
dence there occurred to him then, he might have laid the 
foundations for the future prosperity of his country, and 
benefitted her considerably more, than by squandering 
millions on a monastery. 

The first stone was laid by Philip himself in 1563, and 
the last was placed upon the edifice in 1584. But much 
yet remained to be done, before this magnificent building 
could be considered as completed. Treasures of art were 
now to ornament its walls, and painters and sculptors, 
and workers in gold and silver, had to adorn this monu- 
ment of a Sovereign's piety. A commission had been 
appointed to collect relics of all sorts and sizes, to enrich 
the sanctuary. The holy fathers visited every corner, 
where such things w r ere likely to be collected, the relics 
were taken out of the old cases, in which they had been 
originally placed, and carefully cleaned ; the bones of 
>aints and martyrs were gilt, a piece of officiousness, 
which did not quite please the Sovereign, for, as the 
Padre Siguenza, one of the historians of the monastery 
-ays, "all the poverty, in which they were clothed, was 
only a faithful evidence of the purity, reverence and truth 
of those pious ages, in which there was so much faith, 
and so little money." 

At length, after so man} 7 years of unremitting labour, 
the mighty edifice was completed ; all that the wealth 
of a powerful monarch could collect, was united beneath 
this enormous roof, this true Museum of Art ; and the 
King determined on having the last seal put to his work, 
by the Papal Nuncio. 

Philip himself, although bending under the weight of 
increasing infirmities, was present. The hour of his death 



was fast approaching, and he expired on the 13th of 
September, 1598, in the seventy-first year of his age, 
after having reigned forty-two years. He left nothing 
for his son to complete, except the Pantheon, where the 
ashes of the Spanish Sovereigns were to be deposited. 
His successor, Philip III., commenced this undertaking, 
and the most costly marbles were employed in its 
erection ; but it was not until the reign of Philip IV., 
that it was ready for the reception of the royal coffins. 
Before they were transported to their final resting-place, 
they were opened, in order that the remains might be 
transferred to the sarcophagi prepared for them. It was 
found that the body of Charles V. was but slightly 
changed, after having been deposited there ninety-six 
years ; it was not embalmed, but wrapped in a linen 
cloth, as he had desired in his will ; and was covered 
with rosemary, and other aromatic herbs, which had 
carpeted the hills around San Yuste. Seven members 
of the House of Austria, were then taken to the gorgeou- 
Pantheon, amid all the pomp and ceremony of so strange 
a funeral pageant ; and there they rest in peace, beside 
those of the House of Bourbon, their successors on the 
throne of Spain. 

In 1671, a dreadful fire nearly destroyed all that had 
been erected with so much labour and expense. Nothing 
could stay the fury of the flames ; neither the exertions 
of the assembled multitudes, nor the prayers of the friars, 
who appeared bearing some of the miraculous relics 
which were enshrined within the temple, and which, it 
is said, had already proved most efficacious in similar 
circumstances, were of any avail ; and many of the Arabic 
manuscripts, which enriched the library, as well as the 
standard taken at Lepanto, were consumed. The Es- 
corial became a pile of blackened ruins, and the church 
alone remained unscathed. They succeeded, however, 



in saving most of the treasures contained within the 
building, and by the most unwearied exertions on the 
part of the Prior, the damage w T as repaired in the course 
of a tl w years ; but the prestige of the Escorial was 
already on the wane, and on the accession of the House 
of Bourbon, in the year 1700, it ceased to be the favourite 
retreat of the Spanish monarchs. Philip V., although 
possessed of that love of solitude, which had thrown a 
sort of gloom over the lives of some of his predecessors, 
preferred the pine-clad heights of San Ildefonso to the 
monastic seclusion of the Escorial. 

The present century has sealed its ruin. Ravaged and 
despoiled by the French, the walls were deprived of the 
pictures which adorned them ; the records of the learning 
of past ages disappeared from the shelves of the library ; 
the golden caskets, which contained the wondrous relics, 
collected by its founder, w r ere carried off ; and all the 
costly plate and jewelled ornaments, which glittered upon 
the high altar, were melted down or stolen ; and the 
matchless crucifix of Benvenuto Cellini, which was con- 
sidered of such value, that Philip, to avoid its being 
injured in the carriage, caused it to be transported on 
men's shoulders from Barcelona, w 7 as thrown aside in a 
corner of the building, where it lay long neglected. The 
blow, inflicted by this wholesale pillage, has never been 
recovered ; during the civil wars which followed, many of 
the pictures were removed to Madrid ; and now grace the 
walls of the museum, ticketed with a label, "from the 

When the storm, which had long been brooding, burst 
upon the convents, this princely edifice was also involved 
in the general destruction. Its fall was delayed a little, but 
on St. Andrew's Day, 1837, two hundred and seventy-six 
years after the brotherhood had been constituted by 
Philip II., they were summoned to listen to the decree 



announcing their final extinction. No time was allowed 
the inmates to make any preparation for the change 
which awaited them. They were told that was the last 
day on which they were to dine together, and that on 
the morrow they must seek shelter under some other 
roof. They were not allowed to take even their beds and 
scanty furniture ; these were considered the property of 
the establishment, and as such were sold afterwards by 
public auction. 

The building was fast crumbling to ruin until it was 
placed in some repair by the Queen's tutor, Arguelles, 
who put aside a yearly sum out of the royal patrimony 
for its maintenance and preservation. This arrested 
its destruction for a time. There are now some twenty 
or thirty priests who reside there to guard the ashes of 
the Sovereigns, and perform the requisite services in the 
church : but the future destiny of the Escorial is now 
a matter of speculation. The cowled followers of St. 
Jerome may once more people its deserted corridors, or 
its massive Avails may crumble into dust amid silence and 

But we must turn from such speculations to penetrate 
within the gloomy pile, over whose history we have thus 
been glancing. The greatest wonder it now possesses 
is the old blind guide, Cornelio, who has escorted 
travellers over the same unvaried round for any number 
of years they may choose to imagine. He walks on 
ahead of his party with a firm and determined step, 
never hesitating or faltering for a moment, quite as 
though he could see. He has established a regular routine 
of sight-seeing, from which it would be little less than 
high treason to diverge. The diligence leaves Madrid 
early, and arrives about one o'clock. You have hardly 
had time to see about rooms, before Cornelio arrives 
to take you down to the Casa del Campo, and then 



to the church, escorting you on the following morning 
over the remainder of the building. We followed our 
blind guide with implicit confidence, obeying the mandate 
with due submission which bade us leave the Escorial 
itself until the last. 

We visited first a small summer-hosue, called the 
Casino del Principe, an expensive plaything, erected by 
Charles IV. when Prince of the Asturias ; it is as pretty 
as silks and satins, and gilt furniture, and China orna- 
ments, and second-rate pictures can make it, and contains 
a regular suite of apartments. It is surrounded by a 
pretty garden in the valley just below the convent. As 
we retraced our steps up the hill, we had the vast pile 
before us ; and when the first poetry is over, and the eye 
begins to criticise, this huge conventional palace offers 
nothing in the exterior to captivate the imagination. 
Colossal in its dimensions, one cannot fail to admire the 
untiring energy and determination which succeeded in 
rearing so enormous a pile, but its long lines of insigni- 
ficant windows appear like the exterior of a busy 
manufactory, or the plain elevation of a gigantic poor- 

Wishing to avoid the over-ornamentation of the day, 
its architects fell into the opposite extreme, and the 
nakedness of the elevation considerably impairs its beauty. 
The building is erected in the form of a gridiron, the 
portion appropriated to the palace forming the handle. 
A broad terrace runs round two sides, and the grand 
entrance is towards the north, facing the mountain, and 
looking away from the capital. A small door leads into 
a grand quadrangle, called the Patio de los Reyes, from 
the colossal statues which adorn the facade of the church. 
The grand entrance is only opened for the admission of 
royalty, and you pass through a small side-door into the 



When you cross the threshold, and stand beneath the 
archway which supports the choir, the massive grandeur 
of this gigantic temple strikes you with an indefinable 
feeling of awe. Plain and unornamented, the huge granite 
blocks, with which it is formed, seem as though they had 
been raised by some giant hand, and like the colossal 
pyramids of Egypt, promise to last as many centuries, a 
witness of the cold heart and iron will of the monarch at 
whose behest they were reared. Grand, indeed, is this 
temple, and simple as it is grand ; nothing light or trivial 
mars the fine proportions — so perfect, that at first its size 
is scarcely evident — no massive choir intercepts the view, 
no gilded reja cuts up the nave ; there in front is the high 
altar, raised on its throne of steps, surrounded by all the 
splendour that marble, and gold, and jasper can bestow : 
around, are the plain granite walls ; below r , the pavement. 
w r ith its white and black chequered squares ; above, the 
dome and vaulted roof, though its effect would have 
been grander without the azure colouring of Giordano's 

The church is in the form of a Greek cross, and 
its walls are adorned with many paintings of Navarrete, 
more commonly called El Mudo, whose works are not 
much known out of the Peninsula. He was bora at 
Logrono in 1526 ; in early childhood he lost the power of 
speech, but grew eloquent with his pencil. He studied 
in Venice, and adopted much of the gorgeous colouring 
belonging to that school ; his pictures in the Escorial are 
chiefly full-length figures of the Saints and Apostles. 

The high altar is ascended by a flight of some seventeen 
or eighteen steps of costly marble ; the retablo is magni- 
ficent, with rather a fiery picture of San Lorenzo on his 
gridiron in the centre. Close beside, on the pavement of 
the chapel, are the private oratories of the royal family ; 
and here, on the epistle side, is the small alcove where the 


royal founder used to sit and attend the services, so 
arranged that he might see the clergy officiating at the 
altar, and listen to the solemn peals of the swelling organ ; 
and here he breathed his last : with a crucifix in one hand, 
and the veil of our Lady of Montserrat in the other, he 
closed his strange life of fanaticism and tyranny. The 
motives which actuated that cold gloomy mind, none 
could penetrate, but he worked much evil for his country, 
and silently paved the way for the destruction of the 
liberties of his people. 

Over the oratories are placed bronze statues, richly gilt, 
of some of the Imperial family. On the gospel side of 
the high altar, opposite to where his son expired, is the 
figure of Charles V. ; at his right the Empress Isabel, his 
daughter Mary, and his two sisters, the Queens of France 
and Hungary. By the side is the proud inscription, 
engraved in letters of bronze : 

" If any one of the descendants of Charles V. shall 
exceed his ancestor in the glory of his achievements, 
let him occupy this place — let the rest abstain." 

Opposite is a group in the same style, composed of 
Philip II., three of his wives, and his son, Don Carlos — 
the unhappy Prince who by some unaccountable caprice 
has ever been the favourite hero of dramatists and poets. 
Alas ! that the glowing pages of Schiller should be nothing 
but a fable, and history compelled to own that Don 
Carlos was only a mad and wayward youth, whose person 
it was well to guard, both for his father's safety and his 

In the aisles are the reliquaries, which contained much 
curious working in gold and silver before the French 
invasion ; then their contents were scattered, and it was 
found rather difficult to identify them again after they 
had been so irreverently displaced. The lover of relics 
will, however, still find ample field for curiosity, for, 



according to the statements made, there are upwards 
of seven thousand still enshrined in this temple ; and 
among the list are mentioned seven bodies, one hundred 
and forty-four heads, and three hundred and six arms and 
legs, all in a high state of preservation. The walls of the 
sacristy are covered with marble, a few splendid vestments 
are still preserved, which escaped the general destruction, 
and more exquisite specimens of needlework it would be 
difficult to find. The borders are all copies of paintings, 
representing various events in the life of our Saviour. 

A door leads by a splendid staircase down to the 
Pantheon, where are deposited, in a subterranean 
temple of jasper and of agate, the remains of the 
Spanish monarchs. There lie in black marble sarco- 
phagi the remains of those who have ruled over this 
empire, from the days that Charles V. left the crown 
of two worlds to the care of his successor, to the 
time when Ferdinand VII. bequeathed a disputed crown 
and a ruined kingdom to his young and helpless 
daughter. We were not allowed to enter this royal 
tomb-house, for the little Prince of the Asturias, reposes 
in the centre, and until his coffin be removed strangers 
are are not allowed to enter. 

Leaving the mausoleum, which is placed immediately 
under the high altar of the church, the blind guide 
leads the traveller over the remainder of this enormous 
building, through the vast cloisters, and up the magni- 
ficent staircase, adorned with bright-coloured frescoes 
from the hand of Lucas Giordano. In these corridors 
hung many of the peerless paintings which have since 
been transferred to Madrid. From the cloisters you 
enter the choir, which, as before mentioned, is placed 
over the entrance to the church ; it is in keeping with 
the majesty of the whole ; the stalls are plain and simple, 
and in the right-hand corner, is the seat once occupied 



by Philij) II. It was here that one day during vespers 
he received the news of the battle of Lepanto, where 
his brother, Don John of Austria, laid low the power 
of the Crescent. Apparently unmoved by the glad in- 
telligence, his countenance betrayed no symptoms of 
emotion, nor did he take any notice of the arrival of 
the messenger until after the conclusion of the service, 
when he ordered the Prior to sing a solemn Te Deum 
in token of thanks. The standard which had been 
taken from the Turks was deposited in the library, 
as well as a copy of the Koran, which formed a 
part of the spoils. 

In 1588 the prayers of the inmates of the Escorial 
were offered up to implore victory for the Spanish 
Armada, which had been sent forth to crush the 
power of England. Night and day services were 
performed in the church, and as a Spanish author 
relates, they abounded so much that their enemies 
might well declare, " their prayers had been so nume- 
rous and so efficacious that the invincible Armada had 
gone straight to heaven." 

There are some magnificently illuminated choral books 
preserved here ; and in a small chapel behind the Prior's 
chair stands the beautiful crucifix which I have before 
noticed, and which was presented to Philip by Cosmo 
de Medici. The space is too small to do justice to 
this glorious work of art ; the figure is very fine, the 
head falls on one side in all the agony of death, and 
the whole breathes a spirit well in keeping with the 
subject Many are the rooms through w'hich you pass 
where once the fairest creations of the painter glowed 
in living canvas on the walls. In a lonely chapel hangs 
the Last Supper of Titian, that painting which the 
monarch got cut to fit its allotted place, so impa- 
tient was he to see it hung up. El Mudo, indignant 

F F 



at such an insult offered to one of Titian's paintings, 
promised to do a reduced copy within six months, 
but to no purpose; the despotic Sovereign would brook 
no delay, and Titian's work was sacrificed. Strange 
in Philip, who not only patronised art, but thoroughly- 
understood and appreciated it, and was one of it- 
greatest patrons. 

The library is rich in treasures ; some choice speci- 
mens are shown to visitors, and great numbers of 
valuable Arabic manuscripts are collected on its shelves. 
After all the sombre grandeur of the convent, the 
smaller portion allotted to the palace is uninteresting. 
Here a party of sight-seeing Spaniards joined us, and 
lingered in a state of ecstasy, pausing before every 
staring piece of modern tapestry, and going off into per- 
fect rapture at the sight of every ormolu clock, and all 
the furniture of a modern palace. This was to them the 
most enchanting portion of the whole. Those who love 
such things have every reason to be delighted with two 
or three of the rooms, on which immense sums have been 
expended; I never saw such exquisite specimens of 
marqueterie. The walls, floors, and every corner are all 
inlaid with wood of different colours, arranged in most 
tasteful forms and patterns. 

In a hall, called La Sala de las Batalla>, are 
some curious frescoes representing the great battle, in 
which John II. and Alvaro de Luna defeated the 
Moors, and likewise of the battle of San Quentin. 
We ascended to the roof through galleries, which 
appeared hewn out of the solid granite walls, 
whence we could distinguish the outline of the entire 

Travellers may establish themselves very comfortably 
in the village of the Escorial, and warm themselves after 
feeling the cold blasts of the Sierra by sitting round the 



large tire, with its crackling logs, which gives a most 
cheerful appearance to the sitting-room of the "posada." 
Mine host, too, is an amusing little man, very civil 
and obliging, and ready to contribute to the amusement 
of his guests by getting up music or dancing for them in 
the evening after sight-seeing is concluded. We had a 
capital concert of twelve guitars which all went wonder- 
fully together, enlivened now and then by the singing of 
some light " seguidilla." The servants at the inn, the 
mayoral of the diligence, and several others, joined the 
circle, and they ended by dancing very merrily ; some 
of our own party, overcome by their early rising, and 
long day's work, stealthily left the room to retire for the 
night, while a young Frenchman, who had joined our 
circle, sat moodily in the chimney-corner, trying to digest 
a certain red book which his countrymen, when they 
travel in Spain, generally carry with them, although they 
do not find in its pages a too flattering picture of 

F F 2 



Scarcely any rank or profession escaped (lie infection of the prevailing immorality ; but 
those persons who made politics their business were perhaps the most corrupt part of the 
corrupt society. For they were exposed not oidy to the noxious influences which affected 
the nation generally, but also to a taint of a peculiar and of a most malignant kind. — 

Macaulay's History of England. 






A fine mountain road leads from the Escorial, passing 
Guadarrama, over the Puerto Navacerrada, amid splendid 
mountain scenery, to the summer retreat, which the 
Bourbon King preferred to the gloomy pile of his Austrian 
predecessors. All has a French air at La Granja, or San 



Ildefonso, as it is sometimes called ; the fountains in the 
grounds are said to rival those of Versailles in beauty. 
It was too late in the season to do justice to this elevated 
summer residence, and we passed its gates to continue 
our journey to Segovia. The snow was already thick 
upon the slopes of the Guadarrama, and the dark pines 
rising out of the white mass, looked truly alpine ; but 
mild and beautiful as the mountains appeared, there was 
no enjoyment in the parterres buried beneath such a 
shroud, and we hastened on to the most picturesque of 
Castilian cities. The shades of evening were just closing 
in, when we reached Segovia, and in the gloomy darkness 
we conjured up visions of a Roman amphitheatre, and 
much we wondered, that no handbook had ever alluded to 
the splendid ruins, which we passed on entering the town. 

Alas, for the morning ! on making diligent inquiries, 
we discovered that our magnificent amphitheatre was 
nothing more than an unfinished bull ring ! So much 
for the disenchantment to which travellers are subject. 
Segovia is a charmingly situated town ; the w 7 alls and 
houses cresting the heights with the splendid aqueduct 
-panning the ravine. To the student and admirer of 
early church architecture, it offers many objects of 
interest from the number of buildings of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries, w-hich abound, all presenting some 
peculiar feature. The aqueduct must, however, remain 
the most remarkable object in Segovia, both from its 
antiquity and its stupendous size, which makes all the 
pigmy creations of modern days sink into insignificance. 
Here the Segovians are spared the trouble of descending 
their steep streets to the river's banks, and the trade of 
" aguador" is not so flourishing as in Toledo, and other 
places. The pure water from the source of Rio Frio is 
brought to their very doors. 

The low arches of the aqueduct, gradually rising as the 



ground descends, form two tiers, throwing their gigantic 
chain across the ravine, and carrying the water into the 
very heart of the town. Massive granite blocks piled 
one above the other, without cement or any artificial 
means to bind them together, remain as monuments of 
that colossal empire, whose works are the amazement of 
posterity. It is not strange that the lower orders, ignorant 
of the existence of such an empire as that of Rome, should 
look with wonder upon works, which bear so different a 
stamp to any they see executed in their own days, and 
that the usual popular legend should exist, that it was 
the work of an unholy hand — in short, it is ascribed to 
his Satanic majesty, and to him is attributed all the 
honour and glory of this huge structure. Cunning of 
hand he must have been, if he were the architect ; and 
yet tradition tells us, that he was foiled in attaining the 
reward of all this labour by the superior cunning of a 
worthy priest. 

It seems that the reverend father, according to estab- 
lished usage, had a housekeeper ; but she was young 
and pretty, which, strictly speaking, was quite contrary to 
rule, for the age of forty is that which is considered the 
proper standard for those respectable people. However, 
although the canon law must be kept, there may be many 
ways of keeping it ; and rumour will have it, that many 
of the padres obeyed the Church by getting their house- 
keeping done by two, whose united ages amounted to 
forty, which was just the same thing ; and so we must 
suppose that the good curate of Segovia acted on this 

One fine day, this fair damsel, tired of descending to 
the river, was musing how she could supply her master 
with his " olla" without so much toil ; and vowing there 
was nothing she would not give to be saved the trouble, 
when suddenly she was accosted by a knight in shining 



armour, who expressed his readiness to realize her wishes 
to her perfect contentment, provided she would grant 
him one gift in return. This dashing knight, as may 
be readily guessed, was the arch-fiend himself, and the 
reward he sought was the maiden's soul. Frightened and 
perplexed at so strange an interview, as well she might, 
the poor girl at length accepted the offer, and hastened 
home in a state of mind, that sorely puzzled her master to 
account for. After many questionings, she at last con- 
fided to him her sorrows ; but who can picture the dismay 
and horror of the priest, when he learned the sort of com- 
pany she had been in and the fatal pledge she had made. 

The son of the Church, however, was not to be outdone, 
nor allow his handmaiden to be thus carried off, as 
it were, before his very eyes, and that too by a rival 
with whom it was his special duty to struggle. When, 
therefore, the Evil One returned, to have the contract 
finally sealed, he was met by the old priest himself, 
armed with a goodly supply of holy water to keep the 
enemy in check, and maintain a wholesome distance 
between them. It is needless to detail the long and 
subtle discussion which took place upon the binding 
nature of compacts in general ; suffice it to say, that 
while the priest admitted that a bargain is a bargain, 
even though one of the parties be a very objectionable 
person to deal with, still, he insisted, that the considera- 
tion should be carried out to the fullest extent ; and that 
not only his own house should be supplied with water, 
but the whole town of Segovia, for all ages to come; 
and, moreover, that the work should be executed before 
daybreak on the following morning. 

All this was readily acceded to ; and as the sun was to 
rise at half-past four, the devil made his calculations by 
the curate's clock, little dreaming, clever as he was, that 
his wily opponent had previously put it back. He dis- 



appeared, and on the following morning the inhabitants 
of Segovia beheld with astonishment a noble aqueduct 
conveying the purest water to their very doors, and it- 
stupendous arches towering high above the roofs of their 
tiny houses. One stone, however, w r as wanting, and is want- 
ing there still. The priest had triumphed, and saved his 
servant's soul ; for much to the devil's surprise, the sun 
had risen, while yet the work was unfinished — misled l>\ 
the curate's time-piece, he was caught by the morning 
beams, with the last stone in his hand, when he 
instantly vanished; thereby affording another instance, 
that in Spain nothing is ever destined to be completed. 

The gigantic work, which, according to the idle legend, 
had been gained for the good people of Segovia by the 
sagacity of one priest, appears to have been, in truth, 
secured to them by the talent and energy of another. 
The original founder is not really known ; it is, however, 
certain, that the aqueduct was much injured by the 
invading Moors, w^hen they took Segovia, and a great 
portion of it remained in ruins, until the time of Isabella, 
when one of the monks of the Parral offered to restore 
it ; and so well did he do his work, that the five-and-thirty 
arches which he rebuilt, can barely be distinguished from 
the original structure. Thus has this stupendous work 
been preserved to the present day : and here in this 
retired corner it still continues, after the lapse of so many 
centuries, to perform the office for which it was destined, 
while the mighty aqueducts, which covered the Campagna 
of Rome, are fast decaying ; and the ruins of the Pont 
du Gard attract the traveller, as he passes on to the 
amphitheatre of Nismes. Over the centre arches, on one 
side, is a niche with the statue of the Virgin, and on the 
other the remains of a figure, but such a grim skeleton- 
looking thing, that the inhabitants are fairly convinced, it 
was meant for their favourite architect. 

J US TO, Sj 



The houses appear small and insignificant, as they arc 
clustered near its arches, and little their inmates appre- 
ciate that mighty monument of antiquity. One or two 
of the people were particularly indignant at the talbotype 
apparatus blocking up the streets : " I low could any one 
wish to draw those old stones ?" exclaimed one ; while 
another, wiser than the rest, imparted to the assembled 
crowd that we were only taking a copy of it, in order to 
build something like it in our own country. One of the 
best views of the aqueduct is from the church of San 
Justo; its tower and ornamented apse forming a beautiful 
foreground to the picture. A pretty detour may be made 
through the valley to the San Lorenzo, a small suburb, 
w here the river flows along over a stony bed, escaping 
from noisy mills, which are perched here and there amid 
the blocks of granite that border it. From this point the 
town is seen crowning the height ; to the left the aqueduct 
joins it to the opposite hills ; to the right rise the turrets 
of the Alcazar, its walls descending perpendicularly into 
the ravine beneath. 

The waters of the Eresma flow joyfully along, while 
groups of women washing, crowd its poplar-fringed banks ; 
one or two bridges cross it, and to the right rises the ruined 
convent of the Parral, formerly belonging to the order of 
San Jerome, which flourished so extensively in Spain. 
Their gardens were so celebrated, that a popular saying 
described them as the earthly paradise. 

Enclosed in their rocky valley, they receive all the rays 
of the sun, and vegetation luxuriates in the shelter thus 
afforded. A hermitage formerly stood here, where the 
celebrated Juan Pacheco, Marquis de Villena, founded a 
convent in the year 1447. The civil wars, which ensued 
in the reign of Henry IV., prevented the completion of 
his design ; it was, however, richly endowed, and became 
in course of years one of the most favoured possessions of 



the order. But it has, of course, shared the fate of it- 
companions. It is supposed to be most carefully guarded ; 
some difficulty exists in seeing it, and it is necessary to 
apply to the governor for the keys. 

This might lead one to imagine its remains were highly 
prized; but the man who came down to show it did 
not seem very particular as to his charge. In a few years 
it will be a heap of ruins ; the grand portal of the church 
has already disappeared, and the interior rivals the 
Cartuja of Jerez in the scene of destruction it presents. 
The pavement is torn up, and the splendid tombs of 
the Villenas, its illustrious founders, have been sadly 
mutilated. A party of soldiers came in while we were 
there, and amused themselves scrambling over the 
monuments, and taking away some little record of their 
visit in the shape of a piece of sculptured marble ; our 
guide did not seem to wish to interfere with their pro- 
ceedings, and we of course had nothing to say. 

On a hill, above the Parral, is a most interesting 
ruined church, dedicated to La Vera Cruz, built by the 
Templars in 1204. The keys are intrusted to the same 
watchful hands as those of the Parral. This temple was 
formerly used as the parish church of Zamaramala, a 
village at a little distance ; but now it has fallen into 
disuse. It is of an octagonal form, with two very 
pretty entrances like our Norman gateways with zigzag 
mouldings, and has a square tower, the interior of 
which is very curious. The crosses of the knight are set 
round in the wall, and in the centre is an inner chapel, 
very low, and consisting of two stories ; to the upper one 
of which you ascend by a flight of steps, and a tomb is 
there preserved, said to be an imitation of the Holy 
Sepulchre, but the resemblance did not strike us very 
forcibly. This chapel ought to be preserved as an 
interesting monument, from its singularity. 



Below the Vera Cruz, in the valley, is the convent of 
the Virgin de la Fuencisla, where an image of the Virgin, 
dressed in all the splendour that can be lavished on such 
objects, is held in most especial veneration by the inhabi- 
tants of Segovia. The building itself leans against the 
overhanging cliff ; some of the steps are cut in the solid 
rock which also serves as a roof to the staircase. The 
convent is in good preservation, but it does not contain 
anything remarkable, being indebted for its preservation 
not to its artistic merit, but to its favourite shrine. 
From the platform in front, the view of the Alcazar is 
very fine, as it stands out crowning the point of the 
cliff, although its general effect is much injured by its 
grey-slated roofs. It terminates a bold promontory, at 
whose base a small stream falls into the Eresma, which 
continues its unquiet course, foaming and rushing along 
between precipitous banks. 

Crossing one of the bridges, you climb the heights 
on which the Alcazar stands, rather a steep ascent. In 
front is the lofty tower of the San Esteban, with its rows 
of arches and quaint architecture. All these Segovian 
churches are in the same style ; their great peculiarity 
consists in having a corridor along one, or perhaps two 
sides, the arches supported by double columns, and highly 
decorated capitals. Along the cornice runs a rich border 
of tiny arches, with varied corbels, and quaint heads 
filling up the interstices. Some churches are more 
ornamented than others, but all bear the same stamp. 
One of the most picturesque is the San Juan, now con- 
verted into a house of refuge for the distressed pictures 
which are not considered worthy of a place in the 
museum, where have been assembled the contents of 
the deceased convents. The portal of this church is 
more enriched than the generality, perhaps it is of rather 
a later period ; and although the corridor has been 



blocked up, it makes a charming picture with its Low 
square tower. 

In the Plaza San Martin are facades of old mansions, 
now turned into shops, while the windows above bear 
witness to former splendour ; and a tall square tower, 
belonging to the house of the Marquis de Lozoya, attracts 
attention. Some modern houses, painted in all the 
grandeur that the brightest ultramarine can confer, 
disfigure an adjoining street, but these are considered 
triumphs of taste of the present inhabitants, and an 
evidence of what rapid strides to improvement their city 
is making. There is scarcely a street that does not 
present some object which delights the eye from its 
originality ; and to any one fond of drawing, Segovia 
affords a wide field for the pencil. Those who are 
tired of the Norman architecture of the churches may 
pay the nuns of the Corpus a visit, and look at their 
chapel, unmistakeably of Moorish origin, or in imitation 
of Moorish work. Horse-shoe arches, supported by 
extraordinary capitals, and short thick columns, divide 
the aisles, while above in the nave runs a long row of 
Moorish arches and stucco arabesques ; all spoiled, of 
course, by whitewash, thickly laid on. The girl, who 
did the honours, was very anxious that we should read 
the history of a miracle which had been performed there 
in 1410 ; but we w^ere hurried, and to her surprise 
preferred looking at the Moorish work. There is only 
one thin°; resembling this church, and that is the old 
synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca at Toledo, which 
contains capitals of the same strange form. 

We were particularly pleased with the cathedral, 
which, although small, is beautiful, and the more sur- 
prised, from not having heard much of it previously. 
There is a great deal to admire in the interior, com- 
bining, as it does, lightness with grandeur. The choir 



and rejaS arc there, but do not injure the effect so much 
as in many others. The colour of the stone gives a rich 
deep tone to the whole building, which is considerably 
increased by the lovely pavement, with its diamonds of 
black, white, and salmon-coloured marbles, windows of 
rich-painted glass completing the edifice. The iron 
screens are magnificent, and all correspond — an unusual 
occurrence, which materially contributes to the beauty of 
the whole. 

As the eye follows the lines of columns, it rests on the 
exquisitely moulded ribs of the groining which interlace 
each other, covering the vaulted roof with a network of 
tracery, most tastefully arranged. This cathedral is 
uninjured by whitewash, or any other vandalism of 
modern days ; and in the interior, for a wonder, there 
is nothing over which to lament. In a hall, leading from 
them, the Custodia is kept on a sort of triumphal car, 
and in the centre stands the tomb of a son of Henry II., 
who was killed by falling out of the Alcazar window. 
The sala capitular has a splendid white and gold 
ceiling. The exterior of the cathedral does not equal the 
interior ; it stands in a very awkward manner near the 
Plaza, and from thence the highly decorated pinnacles, 
which abound in the east end, give promise of a richly 
worked facade, but it is as plain as possible, without the 
slightest attempt at ornament. 

Segovia suffered much during the wars of the Co- 
muneros, when the Castilians, discontented with the 
conduct of Charles V. and his Flemish councillors, made a 
desperate struggle for the maintenance of their liberties. 
The Alcazar was one of the strongholds which resisted 
their encroachments, and by some most especial favour it 
has been spared alike from the ravages of war, or the 
steady and slow decay of time, and it remains still a most 
interesting record of former days. The grand entrance 



tower, with its small turrets, is very imposing ; it is now 
converted into an artillery college, and is kept in most 
perfect order. The suite of state apartments is quite 
magnificent. The artesonado ceilings are splendid speci- 
mens of that rich and singular mixture of Gothic and 
Moorish taste, which is so prevalent in Spain. All vary 
in design, each exceeding the other in richness, and the 
gilding looks as fresh as though it had been laid on but 

These rooms were decked out in all this splendour in 
the time of Henry IV., and one hall, now used as the 
library, has a frieze decorated with statues of all the 
Spanish monarchs down to Philip II. The situation of 
this Alcazar is very grand as you look down upon the 
cheerful valley beneath, but the view over the country is 
dreary enough, nothing but barren stony hills. All the 
portion devoted to the students is very well arranged, and 
a long gallery covered in with glass is appropriated to the 
use of the drawing classes. Nothing could be more civil 
than the soldier who did the honours, neither did he make 
— which somewhat surprised us — the slightest objection 
to Mr. T. placing his camera inside the railings to take 
a view ; on the contrary, he seemed much interested 
in the proceedings, and was most anxious to have a 
portrait taken of himself. 

Some of the gates of the town are very picturesque, 
particularly that of San Andres, which is by far the 
finest. It is a massive portal, flanked by towers of solid 
masonry ; but the battlemented parapet is partly ruined, 
and the whole structure much dilapidated. The cold in 
Segovia is intense in winter, and while we were there the 
snow fell thick, covering the ground, and resting on the 
roofs of the houses. It was very provoking, more par- 
ticularly on St. Andrew's Day, for it prevented our seeing 
a grand fete held by the country people on that festival, 



when they all assemble in the small Plaza, just within the 
gate of San Andres. There is an old tree in the centre, 
round which they dance. I regretted it, especially at 
Segovia, where the peasant women have more character in 
their costume than in other towns. They all wear cloth 
jackets and bright yellow petticoats ; the upper one is 
generally made of red stuff, edged with a broad green 
border, which they turn over their heads like a mantilla, 
the bright colours giving them a gayer appearance than 
usual, and the high-peaked hats are still worn by the men. 

Altogether we were charmed with Segovia ; the 
beautiful cathedral, the well-preserved halls of its Alcazar, 
the lofty towers and open arcades of the churches, which 
are perfect studies for the ecclesiologist, and the grand 
arches of its aqueduct towering above the gable ends of 
the houses with their wooden balconies, all form so many 
objects of interest, and combine to lend a peculiar at- 
traction to this town. 

We were told we should find wretched accommodation, 
but we were agreeably surprised at the inn where we 
stopped, near the large Plaza, for although the cuisine 
was not first-rate, we had one of the best rooms we had 
met with on our journey. Large, with two nice alcoves, 
it was more tidily furnished than usual, and the prices 
were much lower than in other places. We now bade 
adieu to Segovia, where we could have lingered much 
longer, had it been in a more genial season ; and retracing 
our steps over the pass of the Navacerrada, with its pine 
forests, we reached Madrid in eleven hours. This is a 
splendid road, having been constructed not so much for 
the advantage of Segovia, as for the easier conveyance of 
royalty backwards and forwards to their alpine palace of 
La Granja. 

Descending from the chain of the Guadarrama, you 
change horses at a wretched village called Las Rosas, a 



bitter mockery to give such a name to a place where no 
plants of any description seem to grow. Bleak and 
wretched is the entire province, although the presence 
of some of the royal country palaces imparts more 
verdure as you approach the capital in this direc- 
tion, than is seen on any other side. The palace of 
Madrid, occupying the commanding position it doc-, 
forms a fine object. But a by no means pleasing ap- 
proach is presented in the bed of the Manzanares, whose 
stream is turned to account as a large wash-house for 
Madrid. The banks of the river are fringed, not 
with overshadowing trees, but with long lines of clothes 
hanging out to dry. Such an exhibition of the garments 
of a whole population was never seen, as is here displayed 
to the admiring gaze of the traveller, while hundreds of 
women are bending over the water beating and scrubbing 
aw r ay from morning till night. It certainly does not 
form an imposing entrance to a capital. 

On our return to Madrid, we found everybody busily 
engaged in speculating on the approaching meeting of the 
Cortes ; there were mysterious conversations, rumours of 
a coup-d'etat, reports of some plots the Government were 
laying against the liberties of the country ; in fact, all 
people agreed that something was to be done ; the diffi- 
culty lay in ascertaining what that something really was 
to be. It was necessary that the outward semblance of 
the Constitution should be adhered to ; this required that 
the Cortes should meet every year, and consequently the 
Parliament was convoked on the very last day the law 
permitted. During the lengthened recess the business of 
the country had been transacted by royal decrees ; a more 
convenient and much less troublesome mode of carrying 
on the Government than submitting measures for dis- 
cussion to a refractory Congress, and more economical 
than bribing deputies to secure their votes. 


The important day at length arrived, and the Cortes 
wi re opened by commission, the Queen not attending in 
person. Business had scarcely commenced, when the 
government sustained a signal defeat in the election of 
Martinez de la Rosa, as President of the Lower House. 
Every one was now on the qui vive, to know what would 
follow ; and each person, as is usual on such occasions, 
appeared to know more than his neighbour, while ominous 
shakes of the head, and most significant shrugs of the 
shoulder, concealed the little they really did know in the 
most approved maimer. Some entertained fears of an 
emeute, and cautiously sent out to know if all was quiet in 
the streets, before they proceeded to the theatre, or their 
evening amusements ; while others came to the very wise 
conclusion, that time would dispel the mysterious veil 
in which things were shrouded. On the following day, 
all who were fortunate enough to gain admission, flocked 
to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, to be present 
at the grand denouement. We joined the throng, who 
were hurrying to the former. 

The Cortes of Spain, according to the arrangements of 
1837, consists of two houses, the Senado, and the Con- 
greso de los Diputados. The latter, are only elected for 
three years, and can, of course, be dissolved at the pleasure 
of the SoVereign ; but they are obliged to reassemble 
within three months after the dissolution. The elections 
are almost always in favour of the government, and are 
carried on by ballot, which, however, does not contribute 
either to prevent bribery or intimidation, both being 
practised to a most extensive degree ; for through the 
immense number of employes, which abound everywhere, 
ministers possess an overpowering influence, and they 
exercise it most unblnshingly. Nothing can be quieter 
than the elections ; there are no meetings in public, no 
hustings, where candidates have to win the sweet voices 

G G 



of their constituents, no cheering, no colours, no enthu- 
siasm ; people walk into a room, prepared for the purpose, 
and deposit slips of paper in the urns, the votes having 
been given apparently in secret ; but, notwithstanding, 
the result of each is as well known as if all had been 
done openly and in public. 

At the end of the second day, the numbers are counted, 
and the result is proclaimed ; but the fortunate candidates 
have no opportunity of returning thanks to the free and 
independent electors, who have placed them in the proud 
position they occupy ; nor even can they make any solemn 
assertions or declarations, how untiringly they intend to 
devote themselves to their interests, and merit the honour 
which has been conferred on them. Nothing of all this 
awaits the member, who has been returned to the Spanish 
House of Commons. He seems to have no peculiar 
privilege, except that should he be absent from the capital 
at the time the House meets, he has the power of usurping 
the place of any person, who may have engaged a seat 
for Madrid in the diligence, or the malle-poste, and 
occupying it himself, in order that the House may not be 
deprived of his valuable services. 

The members of the Upper House are nominated by the 
Sovereign ; they are only for life ; the Senate consists now 
of upwards of three hundred members. A senator here 
does not convey the same idea that a member of the 
House of Lords does with us ; he has not necessarily a 
title — on the contrary, the great majority have none. 
There are some grandees who are senators, and many 
" titulos del reina," as they call those titles, whose bearers 
have not the honour of remaining covered in the presence 
of the Sovereign. The army, the church, the law, and the 
navy are represented in the Senate, the military having 
considerably the majority. The members of the cabinet 
have seats in both houses, sometimes attending one, 



sometimes the other, according to the importance of the 
business which has to be transacted, but they can only 
vote in the one to which they belong. The Senate hold 
their meetings in the old convent of Doha Maria de 
Aragon, in the plaza of the same name; the church has 
been converted into the hall of assembly, which is a very 
handsome room, simply arranged, and seems to be very 
well adapted to its present purpose. There are several 
galleries for spectators ; the Queen's throne occupies the 
place where formerly stood the high altar ; it is on a 
raised platform, and in front of it are the chairs and 
desks of the presidents and secretaries, also the tribune, 
whence the members speak. Benches run down both 
sides, and each is provided with a comfortable writing- 
desk. The senators enter by two side doors, the grand 
centre one facing the throne, being reserved for the 
Sovereign. They have a very good library, and sundry 
committee- rooms. 

The day on which we went, all the tribunes were 
crowded, and an unusually full attendance proclaimed the 
interest that was felt. There was some delay beyond the 
appointed hour ; but at length the members of the govern- 
ment entered, and the appearance of Bravo Murillo in 
full uniform announced that he was the bearer of a royal 
message. One of the secretaries then read a long list of 
unimportant business, when Bra\ T o Murillo ascended the 
tribune, and read the decree dissolving the Cortes, and 
convoking them for the 1 st of March. " Vaya V d con 
Dios," we all rose, and so ended this long session of 
1852, which had only lasted tAventy-four hours. 

Bravo Murillo is not a very distingue looking person. 
He was a laAvyer, a native of an obscure town in Es- 
tremadura, and studied for some years at Seville in the 
College of the Felipenses, AAmere he is said to have . 
imbibed that leaning towards the clergy Avhich charac- 

G G 2 



terised his administration. There were many notabilities 
present, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo, and one or 
two other bishops ; Narvaez, too, had arrived from his 
retreat at Loja to mix himself once more in public affairs, 
little dreaming how soon the orders of exile he had issued 
against so many, would be put in force against himself. 
Concha and O'Donnell, Conde de Lucena were also 
among those pointed out to our notice ; the former who 
had been Captain- General of Cuba at the time of the 
piratical expedition made by Lopez, the latter the repre- 
sentative of a family of whom nearly every member fell 
in the civil wars of their adopted country. "We 
drove to the Diputados afterwards, but everything 
there was as quiet as though no meeting had taken 

The Congreso is a fine building in the Carrera San 
Geronimo, Avith a statue of Cervantes in the plaza in 
front of it. The hall itself is semi-circular, and rather 
theatrical in its effect, with galleries for the corps diplo- 
matique, and other spectators. There is a stage for the 
President and his secretaries, and a tribune whence 
members may address the house if they like ; but they 
seldom avail themselves of the privilege, preferring to 
speak from their seats. Over the doors, are inscribed 
in letters of gold the names of the various martyrs who 
have suffered death for the cause of the Constitution ; 
and when one reflects on the government they have, 
and the character of public men in Spain, one feels 
tempted to think they might have sacrificed their lives 
in a better cause. The ceiling is painted in brilliant 
frescoes and very gaudy. The committee-rooms are all very 
prettily fitted up, the walls done in scagliola, but nothing 
can be more unsuitable than their general aspect for the 
transaction of business ; they have very much the appear- 
ance of a French cafe, and seem as if intended rather for 



the discussion of a glass of eau sucre than of the stern 
and important affairs of state. 

The day after the Cortes were dissolved, the decree 
appeared in the Madrid Gazette, proposing a change in 
the Constitution, rendering it little more than a name, and 
following in fact in the steps of their neighbours, pro- 
posing to hold their sessions with closed doors, &c. To 
the end of this decree, another was appended, forbidding 
the press to make any comments upon the measure, which 
was to be submitted to the Cortes for approval when it 
met again, as the authorities considered it unwise to allow 
people's minds to be prejudiced. This, at all events, was 
honest, and more to the purpose than the idle theory 
by which the Spanish press is supposed to be at liberty 
to express its sentiments freely ; while every paper, whose 
opinions do not harmonize with those of the government, 
is seized, or obliged to withdraw its leading article, in 
order to be able to keep faith with its subscribers. This 
occurs now almost every day, and the newspapers appear 
with the stereotyped heading : " Nuestro numero de 
hoy ha sido recogido," (our number of to-day has 
been seized). Scarcely any of these journals escape the 
amputation of some limb ; and the mutilated newspaper 
is forthwith dispatched to the subscribers, deprived of 
that portion which would probably have possessed the 
greatest value in the eyes of the public. 

The measure which attacked the Constitution, proved 
most distasteful to the military and those who had 
exercised their energies, defending the throne of Isabel 
Segunda as a constitutional Sovereign. Difficulties soon 
arose ; the minister of war, who had signed the decree for 
the banishment of Narvaez, refused to proceed to extre- 
mities, and exile a few more refractory generals to the 
Philipines. The Bravo Murillo cabinet fell, and its chief 
followed Xarvaez to Bordeaux. Some say it bowed to the 


universal opinion of the country, which triumphed even 
when the press was silenced ; according to others, it fell 
before the resistance of a small party, whose object would 
not have been attained had it remained in power. A new 
government was then formed under Roncali, which out- 
lived the re-assembling of the Cortes but a short period. 
General Lersundi succeeded, and is still prime minister ; 
but what line of policy will be pursued by the present 
cabinet, remains yet to be developed. 

People, however, must be actuated by higher and better 
principles, before things can really improve in this 
unhappy land ; they must learn to prefer public to private 
interests, before there can be an honest or an upright 
government in Spain. From the highest to the lowest, 
all are corrupt : the government bribe alike the elector^ 
and the elected ; taxes are remitted, patronage is dispensed, 
trade encouraged, every engine that a ministry, backed by 
hundreds of employes, can command, is set in motion to 
return the candidate who will be most pliant when 
elected. People in Spain only seek to obtain office for 
the advantages to be derived from it, or the benefits 
that may accrue to their families ; in fact, they do not 
seem to understand, there can be a possibility of people 
seeking office with any other view. That there are 
exceptions, no one can doubt ; but the prevalence of the 
complaint is too manifest, and the state of public morality 
has sunk so low, that such peccadilloes are considered 
as a matter of course, and do not call forth either astonish- 
ment or reprehension. 

The problem of constitutional government in Spain has 
still to be solved. With nations, as with individuals, 
inveterate habits will for a time survive convictions, and 
a long-misgoverned country may, even whilst attaining 
to better things, practically adhere to that which, as a 
system, it repudiates. Such is the condition of Spain ; 



virtually trammelled, whilst theoretically free — encumbered 
by an antiquated regime, for which it sees no substitute, 
and which suddenly to suspend, would derange the whole 
machinery of government. Hence it is, that in the midst 
of those able disquisitions on national rights which, so 
long as they were tolerated by the government, did honour 
to the public press of Spain, and in some sort to its 
people, we are startled by the spectacle of ever-pliant 
Parliaments, and of Executives, of whatever shades of 
politics, foregoing, when in power, the principles which 
placed them there, and falling back upon a policy incom- 
patible with the existing institutions.* In this spirit 
did Xarvaez banish hundreds ; and in the like spirit did 
Bravo Murillo banish him. Whence this inconsistency, 
amongst a people naturally intelligent, and disposed to 
make the system they have chosen a reality ? 

It has been said, that all nations have as good govern- 
ment as they deserve ; an axiom, which, as applied to 
Spain, would certainly estimate her deserts at a very 
humble rate. It may be true of settled countries, but 
Spain, it should be remembered, is in the transition state, 
impatient of misrule even whilst enduring it. Trained 
in the school of absolutism, its continuance to the present 
time has been with her rather a necessity than a choice ; 
more familiar to Spaniards than acceded to by them. 
The very elements of a better practice have to be created, 
and preconceived notions not only abandoned, but en- 
lightened ones acquired. It was probably in despair of 
accomplishing these objects, and of coping with the 
present but by a recurrence to the past, that the late 

* Senor Bertram de Lis, the Minister for the Home Department under 
Bravo Murillo, suspended a newspaper in Barcelona after it had by his direction 
and for the very same cause been prosecuted and acquitted. But tins very man, 
as Under-Secretary of State in a previous ministry, retired from office rather than 
give his sanction to a law moderately restraining the Press. 



Bravo Murillo ministry, instead of seeking a legitimate 
remedy in the diffusion of education, &c., became in its 
latter days so excessively reactionary ; throwing amongsl 
the people a very firebrand, in the form of a royal decree, 
proposing a change in the Constitution, by which amongst 
other reforms, as they w r ere called, the discussions in 
the Cortes were to be secret, unreported by the press, 
and its president named by the crown. But the 
measure would seem to have been as impossible as it was 

Men are still to be found in Spain, who rather than 
grapple w r ith a present though temporary evil, would 
stamp it w 7 ith all the sacredness of law, and perpetuate 
the same ruinous state of things, from which it has 
struggled so hard to emerge. Doubtless, the race that 
is now springing up, will be in a less difficult position : 
to them the past is mere history, and thus with fewer 
incongruities to reconcile, it may in time bring the 
administration of the country to harmonize with it- 
institutions. That ill-timed decree was fatal to the Bravo 
Murillo ministry. Narvaez, quick to profit by this false 
move of his adversaries, emerged from his retirement 
in Loja, and with other influential persons, sought to 
put in nomination for the new Cortes men on whose 
constitutional principles they could rely. Though this 
was done in rigid observance of the law, and with a 
moderation little characteristic of the man, he was ordered 
to quit Spain in forty-eight hours under the absurd 
pretext of inspecting the condition of the Austrian army. 

Nothing could be more unwise than this step. It 
put him once more in the right with the nation, by 
making a political martyr of the man whom they feared, 
and whose influence it had been their constant aim to 
neutralize. Narvaez afterwards insisted on his return 
to Spain, in order to take his seat in the Senate, and 



addressed one or two very energetic expostulations to the 
Sovereign. On the one hand the law upheld him in his 
demand, whilst on the other his return was opposed to 
the views of the court. An illustrious personage is even 
reported to have said, " That both could not remain in the 

It is to be lamented that qualities so eminent as those 
which distinguish the Duke of Valencia, should be obscured 
by defects which give his enemies a vantage-ground, and 
in some measure neutralize their effect. His temper is 
said to be hasty, and imperious to his colleagues ; his 
language, when irritated, coarse and offensive ; and his 
system of government more befitting the camp than the 
cabinet. But he has ever been loyal to his Sovereign, 
and staunch to his followers and his party ; and if he 
cannot command the love of the public, he knows better 
than most men how to profit by its fears, and has ever 
applied this knowledge to the maintenance of public 
order. His will and energy are indomitable ; and his 
display of them in 1843, when he threw himself, a 
denounced man, into the very heart of Spain, with a 
handful of followers, in face of an opposing army, and 
caused it to fraternize with his little band to the downfall 
of the regency, will ever stamp him as a man of that 
rare daring of which heroes are made, and which, though 
seemingly rash, had its origin in sound calculations and 

At that period he found an army ill paid, and con- 
sequently undisciplined, and the ready tool of ambitious 
and turbulent leaders. He left it, on resigning office, 
effective and loyal. It must be confessed, however, that 
his military predilections raised it to a dangerous 
ascendancy, and that if it has since been confined within 
constitutional bounds, it is due to the foresight of his 
successor, Bravo Murillo. The Duke of Valencia is like- 



wise lavish in his expenditure, and, like most Andalucians, 
fond of pomp and display ; forming, in this particular, 
a striking contrast with the sober and retired habits of 
the other. 

The admirers of Bravo Murillo describe him as pos- 
sessing a fixity of purpose, unsurpassed by Narvaez 
himself, tempered by courtesy, and an ear ever open 
to all applicants. Educated for the law, he is fluent and 
argumentative in the Chambers, indefatigable in business, 
and has unquestionably surpassed cotemporary statesmen 
in seeking to promote the industry and material interest 
of his country. During his time, Spain witnessed the 
novelty of having her civil as well as her military list paid 
to the hour ; and all state contracts entered into by him 
were punctually met. The loss of such a man is hard to 
replace in Spain, making more grave the error he com- 
mitted, which drove him from her counsels. General 
Roncali, Conde de Alcoy, who succeeded him, was an 
untried statesman, with no very enviable celebrity as the 
stern avenger of an insurrection in Alicante and Cartagena 
in 1843. By disclaiming the retrograde policy of his 
predecessors, he somewhat calmed the tempest they had 
raised. But the sincerity of this disclaimer might well 
be doubted on the part of a ministry which tyrannized 
over the press beyond all precedent, and tampered in the 
most shameless manner with the election of Deputies. 

One or two instances out of a thousand may show the 
manner in which ministerial influence is exerted. In 
Pinos de la Valle, in the province of Granada, the 
Alcalde, whose office it is to preside over the elections, 
was suspended by the Governor as being adverse to the 
government candidate, and a claim against the town of 
two hundred pounds was remitted on consideration of the 
ministerial candidate being returned. In the town of 
Orgiba, in the same province, a fine of like amount was 



imposed, and a further one threatened, should the minis- 
terial candidate not be returned; and as if this were 
insufficient, the Alcalde was suspended, the second Alcalde 
was put aside, and a friend of the candidate named to 
conduct the voting, although a criminal suit was actually 
pending against him. It may be asked how a government 
can be allowed to exercise so shameless and baneful an 
influence ? The discussion is, indeed, a wide and difficult 
one ; but one predominating cause may be found in that 
insatiable rage for government employment which per- 
vades Spain. It is essentially a nation of two classes — 
" empleados," or persons holding office, dependent on 
the government for their very bread, and " pretendientes," 
or those who are seekers after place. Had Le Sage 
written in the middle of the nineteenth, instead of at the 
commencement of the eighteenth century, he could not 
have depicted the system more to the life. Public 
employment is the primary resource of every needy man 
who can read and write, as well as of thousands who 
cannot ; the very door-keepers and porters, who encumber 
the public offices being Legion. It has been computed 
that their numbers have quadrupled within the present 
century ; and, as a consequence, the administration of the 
country is some four times more complex and inefficient. 
Nor are the social evils of such a system less disastrous, 
at once draining the fields of their legitimate cultivators, 
and drawing off from the industrious pursuits of life 
those of the middle classes, whose labour and enterprize 
should enrich the country. There is, however, in Congress 
a phalanx of enlightened and determined men bent on 
sweeping away these relics of a past time, and whose 
voices will at length be heard. Although forming but a 
minority within the walls, they carry weight and con- 
viction without them ; and to this party, and its 
principles, many look for the ultimate regeneration of 



their country, and for rendering its institutions a 

These remarks may appropriately be closed in the 
language of one of the most distinguished of that party, 
lately uttered in the Cortes. In a protestation again -t 
the coercion so shamefully exercised by government 
towards electors, Senor Madoz said : " What manner 
of governing is this ? Anarchy, gentlemen, is not per- 
sonified in the men who are called revolutionary, but in 
those who act thus. All is now distorted and reversed ! 
We of the opposition are those who most faithfully 
uphold and serve the throne of Isabella II. You compro- 
mise it, and are placing it in imminent danger. We will 
ever defend it ; and perhaps those who are now jeopar- 
dizing it, may, in the hour of danger, be the first to fly. 
Let the truth be said : I am one of those men who have 
most faith in a constitutional system. But my faith decline - 
when I witness such things. We who have that faith 
should retire to our own homes, and proclaim ourselves 
partizans of a policy of retirement, in order not to become 
accomplices in this child's play, in which loyalty has no 
part, and in which meanness and intrigue are everything. 
For myself, I declare that if in 1853 we do not return 
to the pure forms of representative government, I shall not 
come again to Congress, for I have no wish to play a 
part in such a farce. Could we but hear from the 
House one word in reprobation of such enormities — could 
we but see one member of the government protest against 
such conduct, and display a wish to punish the offenders, 
I should be somewhat consoled, and still believe in the 
possibility of a representative government in Spain." 



Negra, ruinosa, sola y olvidada 
hundidos ya los pies entre la arena 
alii yace Toledo abaudonada, 
azotada del viento y del turbion. 







Toledo is, perhaps, the most interesting town in Spain, 
containing, as it does, beauty of situation with historic 
recollections. It is but a short distance from Madrid ; a 
drive of about six hours over rather a good road taking 
you from the modern to the ancient capital. What a 
contrast do not those two cities present ! the one, the 
mere butterfly of to-day, looking as though it had been 
raised by royal decree to suit the purpose of the hour ; the 
other, throned upon her seven hills, affording in her ruined 



walls and crumbling towers, the history of Spain's past 
glories. As you approach Toledo, the general aspect of 
the country improves, the broad Tagus is seen flowing 
through the plains, and entering the deep gorge formed 
by the cliffs on which the city itself is built ; and after 
girdling the town, it continues its course until it loses 
itself in the ocean below the noble city, which ouirht to 
have been the capital of the Peninsula. 

Toledo is entered by a massive gateway, over which the 
Imperial arms are placed ; and as you ascend the steep 
declivities, you pass the Puerta del Sol, a fine Arabic 
portal no longer used. Climbing the hill, you cross the 
picturesque Zocodover, the great plaza, and arrive at the 
Fonda de los Caballeros, a clean little inn, where a good- 
natured old lady is ready to bid you welcome. The 
general appearance of Toledo differs from that of any 
other Spanish city ; the old capital of the Recaredos, 
and centre of the Gothic empire, it can boast of great 
antiquity ; as the seat of the Christian primacy, it has 
ever been the head-quarters of a wealthy hierarchy ; 
the abode of prelates whose virtues have been an 
honour to the Church over which they presided, and 
whose wealth was ever expended in benefiting the needy, 
and encouraging art. 

The streets of Toledo are narrow and tortuous, and the 
steep hills on which the town is built render it a constant 
succession of ascents and descents. The houses are lofty, 
and built of a dull reddish brick ; they have hardly any 
windows looking into the street, and present therefore a 
most gloomy appearance, offering a complete contrast to 
the bright white and green streets of Seville. At Toledo, 
too, instead of light " cancelas," massive portals afford an 
endless study, with their rich variety of decoration, and 
the heavy wooden doors present an impenetrable bar to 
any stray peeps into the interior of the houses. The 



cornices of these entrances are ornamented with large 
stone balls, a style peculiar to this place, and the doors 
themselves are studded with iron nails, the heads worked 
in many different patterns. The principal street leading 
from the Zocodover is most picturesque, and the per- 
spective is bounded by the graceful tower of the cathedral 
rising to the height of three hundred feet. 

This editice is naturally the first object of interest in 
the city. It is a museum of Spanish art, containing 
tributes from successive generations, offering specimens of 
every style from the thirteenth century, when it was 
raised on the foundation of a more ancient temple, to that 
of the eighteenth, when the wealth and taste and religious 
enthusiasm, which had inspired the people in preceding 
centuries, had died away. The exterior is disappointing ; 
choked up by mean buildings, and rather sunk in a 
hollow, you might pass it by without even being aware 
of the existence of a cathedral. The facade from the 
plaza is fine, though only one tower is completed. In 
the interior the richness of detail rather detracts from the 
effect of the whole, and the columns are too massive for 
the building ; they rest on heavy pedestals, and all has 
been spoiled by a slight touch of whitewash, although the 
stone itself is of a very pale white colour. In Seville the 
grandeur of the building prevents one from entertaining 
the slightest wish to examine it in detail ; in Toledo, on 
the contrary, there are so many beauties, so many objects 
of interest inviting a careful scrutiny, that you feel as if 
you must dwell upon each in succession. 

The present edifice was commenced in 1227, in the 
reign of Saint Ferdinand, and it was not completed 
until the time when the Crescent finally bowed before the 
power of Castile. During this long period it received 
constant additions and embellishments, and the talents 
of the first artists were called into requisition to enrich it 



with the productions of their genius. The carved stalls 
of the choir are triumphs of the chisel of Borgoria and 
Berruguete, the gilded reja the master-piece of Villalpanda, 
and every chapel offers something worthy of note. The 
first point of attraction is the Capilla Mayor, where the 
high altar is enclosed by a most elaborate screen of rich 
Gothic stone-work, partially gilt, and adorned with 
numbers of statues. The retablo is very costly, and 
every niche is filled with figures, amongst them those 
of Alfonso VIII., and of the shepherd who guided the 
Christian arms to victory, under that monarch, at the 
Navas de Tolosa. 

There is likewise a statue of Alfonso VI., and opposite 
to him one of a Moslem Alfaqui, which recals an incident 
in the early history of Toledo creditable alike to both 
Moor and Christian. When the Moslems were forced to 
yield to the triumphant arms of Alfonso VI. , they sur- 
rendered only on one condition, that they should be 
allowed to continue the celebration of their religious 
ceremonies in the great mosque. This was guaranteed 
them by the Sovereign, and the Christian army took 
possession of Toledo. The conditions were faithfully 
fulfilled by Alfonso, but unfortunately he had soon occa- 
sion to leave the city and proceed to Leon, leaving the 
government in charge of his Queen Constance. She was 
a native of France, and so was Bernardo, then Arch- 
bishop of Toledo ; and during the King's absence they 
determined on breaking faith with the inhabitants, and 
accordingly seized upon the mosque, converting it into a 
place of Christian worship. The Mahommedans instantly 
had recourse to Alfonso, who was highly indignant at 
his royal word having been broken ; he returned in all 
possible haste to Toledo to punish the Queen and her ad- 
viser. But the injured Moslems, unwilling that any harsh 
measures should be taken, went out to meet the King, 



headed by one of their chief men, an Alfaqui, who was 
held in groat respect, and besought Alfonso not to carry 
out his designs of vengeance, but to pardon the Queen and 
all who had joined in committing so great and flagrant an 
act of injustice; the entreaties of the Alfaqui prevailed, 
the King forgave the culprits, and the statue of the 
Moslem, who behaved so generously, was erected in the 
Cap ilia Mayor. 

Several of the early Kings are buried in this chapel, 
and here amid royalty lies the great Cardinal Mendoza, 
one of the most virtuous prelates that ever graced the 
archiepiscopal throne ; the confessor of Isabella, her com- 
panion and adviser in the council and the camp, who 
tempered the sternness of the age in which he lived 
with the mildness and gentleness of his character. His 
sepulchre is richly ornamented in the plateresque style, 
and the portion of the edifice where it stands was con- 
siderably enlarged by Ximenez, who succeeded Mendoza 
in the primacy. The beautiful chapel of Santiago in the 
centre of the aisle was erected by the great Constable 
Alvaro de Luna, who after enjoying the favour of his 
Sovereign for so many years ended his days upon the 
scaffold in the great plaza of Valladolid. He not only 
built the chapel, but had likewise prepared a sumptuous 
tomb for himself of bronze gilt, ornamented with statues 
so arranged as to rise during the celebration of mass. 
This was, however, destroyed during his lifetime, and the 
present sepulchre of rich Gothic work was raised by order 
of Isabella, who had doubtless, after the lapse of years, 
learned to do justice to the character of the man her 
father had so grievously wronged. The inscription 
merely intimates that he ended his days in 1453. There 
are many other fine sepulchres both in this and the 
adjoining chapels, all altar tombs, of which there are so 
many beautiful examples in this country. 

H H 



There is another chapel, " de los Reyes nuevos," con- 
taining the ashes of many of the Sovereigns of Castile ; 
amongst others, of Henry of Trastamara ; the whole is 
richly ornamented in white and gold. In the sacristy 
is preserved a most lovely custodia, the work of Enrique 
de Arfe, made by order of Ximenez; as a specimen of 
working in gold and silver, it is unequalled. It stands 
sixteen feet high, representing a Gothic temple, decorated 
with two hundred and sixty statues, all gilt, and of most 
delicate workmanship ; in the centre is a remonstrance 
which belonged to Isabella, and was purchased at her 
death by the Cardinal. 

At one end of the aisles is the Muzarabic chapel, 
erected by Ximenez, in order to preserve the memory 
of this ancient ritual, said to be the earliest used by the 
primitive Christians of the Peninsula. It was the one 
used in the time of the Goths, and was retained by the 
Christian inhabitants of Toledo, while the city was under 
the dominion of the Moors, during which period -i\ 
churches were still consecrated to its services. The 
oldest of these was founded in the year 554 ; the most 
modern in 701. The buildings themselves have been so 
often modernized, that no trace of the original portions 
remain. The inhabitants clung with affection to the 
primitive ritual of their ancestors ; but after the conquest, 
they were obliged to adopt the Roman liturgy, which was 
introduced into most of their churches. Ximenez, how- 
ever, anxious that it should not be lost, erected this 
chapel in the cathedral, in order that the Muzarabic 
mass might be said there daily, and had it printed at 
Alcala de Henares. 

This service, which was performed in Toledo unaltered 
during the whole time the city was in possession of the 
Infidels, is particularly interesting, the more so from its 
having been transmitted from such early days, and so 



carefully treasured by the prelates, even after it had been 
exchanged for another. This mass is still occasionally 
said in the old Muzarabic churches. The chapel erected 
by Ximenez, i> very simple ; on its walls are frescoes of 
the taking of Oran in 1508, that celebrated expedition 
when the Cardinal led his troops in person, and wielded 
the sword in one hand, while he held the crosier in the 

In the nave is a Gothic chapel, on the spot where the 
Virgin is supposed to have descended to present the 
"casulla," the cassock, to San Ildefonso. This is the 
great miracle of Toledo, and allusions to it meet the eye 
in every direction ; it has ever been a favourite subject with 
Spanish artists, more particularly in this diocese, over 
which San Ildefonso ruled. Cardinal Rojas erected this 
shrine in 1610 ; and within its cage of lace-like Gothic 
work, the identical slab on which the Virgin is said to 
have rested her foot, is carefully guarded. Bas-reliefs 
represent the miracle to which the chapel is dedicated. 

The sun's rays stream in on all these precious objects 
through windows of painted glass ; and though the 
colour cannot vie in depth or brilliancy with those of 
Leon, yet they heighten the general effect, and shed a 
sweet and softened light around. This brief sketch con- 
veys but a very imperfect idea of this lovely cathedral, 
which possesses so many treasures of art, speaking of 
the magnificence of a long line of prelates, who loved to 
enrich the pearl of their diocese. But their wealth is now 
a thing of bye-gone days ; the canons and chapter of 
Toledo, whose number and whose riches had no parallel, 
have vanished ; the primate lives the greater portion of 
the year at Madrid, and the city, ruined and deserted, 
has received its final death-blow in the impoverishment of 
that hierarchy, whose princely revenues were spent within 
its walls. Large and noble cloisters are attached to the 

h h 2 


cathedral, once adorned with frescoes, but now they have 
almost disappeared. 

Perhaps after the cathedral, the most interesting monu- 
ment — at least, of Gothic date — in Toledo, is the Church 
of San Juan de los Reyes, formerly belonging to a Fran- 
ciscan convent, founded by the Catholic Sovereigns after 
the conclusion of the war with Portugal. It was com- 
pleted in 1476, and much favoured by Ferdinand and 
Isabella, who enriched it with an extensive library and 
other valuable objects. Its beautiful Gothic exterior 
was covered with many heavy chains, mournful remi- 
niscences of the Christian captives, who were released 
at the taking of Malaga and other towns. Some few still 
remain, but the great majority have been taken away ; 
and the destruction of this beautiful convent, is one of 
the gravest charges which the Spaniards have to bring 
against the French. 

The building was sacked, the splendid library com- 
mitted to the flames, and the exquisite church, quite 
a triumph of florid architecture, was converted into a 
stahle by the French troops. The rich ornaments, the 
delicate traceries, in which occur the initials of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, the gorgeous armorial bearings, and the 
elaborate inscription fringing the cornice, are all beautiful ; 
but its painted glass windows have been destroyed, 
and all the statues within reach are mutilated. The 
ruined cloisters are still exquisite, although unroofed and 
despoiled of their ornaments ; and the passages and 
corridors have been converted into a receptacle for the 
bad pictures which were expelled from the convents. 

Leaving the gate, and descending the steep hill, you 
arrive at the verdant plains ; a pleasant walk then leads 
to the sword manufactory, where the famed steel of 
Toledo is still fashioned. It is a large white building, 
and was erected for this purpose in the reign of 


Charles III. The blades are all beaten with the hand, 
although for other branches of the manufacture, they use 
machinery driven by water power. The swords for the 
army are mostly made here, and some specimens of the 
ancient productions are preserved in a small cabinet. 
When we were there, they had none for sale, but we 
saw some of those wonderful swords so admirably 
tempered as to admit of their being bent into a circle. 
They were unfinished, and they asked about five pounds 
for them in that state ; ten, being the price when com- 

Returning to the town, we passed the Basilica of Santa 
Leocadia, now called the Cristo de la Vega, on account of 
a remarkable crucifix contained in it, about the wonder- 
working power of which many legends are extant. This 
church was erected in 618, and within its walls were 
celebrated the early councils of Toledo. Close by is the 
noble bridge of San Martin spanning the gorge, with 
its quaint old gateways. Built in 1 203, it was destroyed 
by a flood ; again raised, it suffered much injury during 
the civil wars in the time of Pedro the Cruel, and w r as 
finally rebuilt by Archbishop Tenorio. 

A curious anecdote is attached to the erection of this 
bridge. It appears that when nearly completed, and 
nothing but the keystone remained to be placed, the 
architect discovered he had committed some grievous 
error, and that on the removal of the scaffolding, the 
whole would fall. In vain, he sought to devise means 
by which to obviate the evil and save his reputa- 
tion. Returning to his home, he confided to his wife 
the cause of his despair, telling her at the same time, 
that he never could survive such disgrace and ruin. The 
difficulty, which to him seemed insurmountable, w r as 
overcome by her ingenuity. That night, she silently 
left the house, and proceeding to the bridge, set fire to 



the scaffolding in several places. The flames spread 
rapidly, and the whole giving way, the fame of the archi- 
tect was saved, for the fall of the bridge was attributed 
to accident. He was employed to reconstruct a second ; 
when, profiting by past experience, he this time com- 
mitted no mistake, and the structure still exists. 

Crossing the San Martin, a lovely walk may be taken 
round the hills on the opposite side, returning by the 
bridge of Alcantara, which spans the river at the other 
extremity of the town. Nothing can be wilder than 
the scenery ; the granite rocks tossed about in strains 
craggy forms, crowned by the buildings of the town, 
all alike presenting a colour so uniform, that except under 
strong effects of light and shade, it is hardly possible 
to distinguish the one from the other. As you wind 
along the cliffs, you reach a small hermitage dedicated to 
the Virgen de la Valle, and from this spot, Toledo is truly 

However great may be the souvenirs of other Spanish 
cities, there are none which carry one back so many 
centuries. Others call forth recollections and tales of the 
wars of Moor and Christian ; but in Toledo the mind 
may dwell on still earlier days, when the Gothic monarch- 
ruled in Spain. When their descendants resumed the 
dominion, which Roderick had lost, Toledo saw its ancient 
line of kings and prelates re-established, and it became 
the cradle of the glorious Castilian tongue, which may still 
be heard here in its greatest purity. 

It was long the favourite residence of the Sovereigns ; 
but after the succession of the House of Austria, it was 
deserted for Madrid, and, in course of time, her stately 
Alcazar was destroyed by the Portuguese ; in a later 
invasion her beautiful convents were pillaged, and the 
hands of Spaniards themselves have since completed her 
ruin. Her hierarchy and vast religious establishments 


a\ ere all that remained to support her ; and now that 
they have been deprived of their revenues, she remains 
a lifeless sepulchre ; her streets desolate and silent, in- 
habited by only a few thousand inhabitants, where once 
upwards of two hundred thousand lived in the enjoyment 
of wealth and prosperity. Now, it is a city rich in 
nothing, but the memory of the past. 

Wandering; along the rugged barren hills, you approach 
the old Moorish castle, which stands on a height com- 
manding the bridge of Alcantara, and facing the Alcazar ; 
it bears the strange name of San Cervantes, corrupted 
from that of San Servando. It was originally a monastery, 
dedicated to that saint, and was founded by Alfonso VI. 
soon after the conquest. Its defenceless condition outside 
the town, rendered it, however, a most uncomfortable 
residence for the monks, who soon abandoned it to more 
warlike occupants — the Templars, who maintained a 
strong garrison within its walls, till the period of their 
suppression. It then fell into ruins, and seems, from 
the mention of it in the dramas of Calderon de la Barca, 
to have been even in his days a deserted spot, frequented 
only r by those who sought to arrange affairs of honour. 
In the valley below, is a curious remnant of Moorish 
work connected with one of the most fabulous and 
romantic incidents in Spanish story. It is supposed to 
have been the palace of the Infanta Galiana. 

" Galiana de Toledo 
muy hennosa a maravilla 
la mora mas celebrada 
de toda la morerfa." 

The ruins prove that it was once a handsome dwelling ; 
it stands in a charming situation, close to the river, and 
is known by the name of the Huerta del Rey. The 
exterior is plain, and we were not a little surprised on 



entering what appeared to be only a peasant's cottage, so 
feebly lighted, that the eye could with difficulty penetrate 
the darkness, to see on those walls blackened with the 
smoke of ages, traces of Moorish windows and arabesque 
designs, which would be worthy of the halls of the 

The road to Aranjuez leads along this valley, and the 
first portion is laid out as an Alameda. From hence there 
is a splendid view of the Alcazar, towering above the 
houses on the opposite side of the river, the gorge between 
spanned by the bold arch of the bridge of Alcantara. 
The commanding position, upon which the Alcazar stands, 
induced Charles V. to select it as the site of his palace. 
He entrusted its erection to Herrera and Covarrubias, 
and it was one of his favourite residences in Spain. Sub- 
sequently burnt by the Portuguese, it was partially 
restored by the Primate Lorenzana, towards the end 
of the last century, who devoted it to the manufacture of 
silk, an art for which Toledo was once celebrated. But 
it was destroyed during the French invasion, and little 
but the outer walls and magnificent staircase are now 
remaining of this massive edifice. 

Returning to the Zocodover, you pass the Hospital de 
la Cruz, built by the great Cardinal Mendoza. Its portal 
is of exquisite plateresque architecture. It is now converted 
into a school for the infantry, in the same manner as the 
Alcazar at Segovia has been appropriated to the education 
of artillery officers. 

Many picturesque old buildings are grouped together 
in the neighbourhood, and in a street adjoining is the 
convent of Santa Fe, devoted to noble ladies, where, 
as there is no " clausura," strangers may enter. The 
number of monastic establishments formerly existing 
in this city appears perfectly incredible. Seventeen 
monasteries and thirty-two nunneries occupied the best 



part of Toledo. The rage for founding religious houses 
in olden times reached a dangerous extent ; Mendoza 
would not allow of any being erected during his pre- 
lacy, considering that the practice had attained a 
height which was injurious alike to the welfare of the 
town and the true interests of religion ; but after his 
death they greatly increased in number, and half the area 
of Toledo was soon covered with monastic buildings, a 
circumstance which has very materially contributed to 
accelerate its fall. The nuns in this convent wear the 
cross of Calatrava embroidered on their black robes ; 
there are but six remaining, and they have the privilege of 
returning to their houses in case of illness. 

The Plaza of the Zocodover is charmingly pic- 
turesque ; its houses are ornamented with wooden 
balconies, which seem in a very dilapidated condition ; 
but a desire to improve has even reached Toledo. One 
side has been recently modernised, and painted, and 
arranged in the most approved modern taste. Just 
outside the town is the noble hospital commenced by 
Archbishop Tavera, one of the great primates who shed 
lustre on the reign of Charles V. He died, however, 
before this building was far advanced, and it was com- 
pleted by his heirs. Tavera's sepulchre of white marble 
reposes in front of the high altar of the church, a chef- 
d'oeuvre of Berruguete, and a monument worthy of the 
founder of the hospital. The patio is magnificent, 
crossed by a covered colonnade from the great portal to 
the entrance of the church. Such institutions as these 
will long preserve the memory of the prelates, whose 
enormous treasures were always lavished on some object 
which might embellish the seat of their diocese, or benefit 
its inhabitants. 

Many Moorish remains may still be seen here ; the 
two most important, perhaps from their size, are the 



ancient synagogues, now called the Santa Maria la Blanca 
and the Transito : the former bears more the form of a 
basilica than of a synagogue, but the horse-shoe archer, 
and the strange capitals of the columns are evidently 
Moorish. It is now in a deplorable state of dilapidation. 
An inscription over the doorway details all the various 
changes it has suffered, and the different purposes to 
which it has been destined. 

It would take pages to describe all the different objects 
of interest in this town; every street presents something 
to arrest the eye, and those who have time to wander 
about, and penetrate into out-of-the-way corners, may 
find much to reward their curiosity. In the church of 
Santo Tome hangs the master-piece of El Greco ; and the 
old Arabic tower, with its horse-shoe arches, is extremely 
picturesque. Here and there some ruined archway or 
richly-decorated ceiling, some noble saloon with its 
arabesque patterns, or graceful window with its marble 
column, reminds one of the Arab rule. 

Our tour in Castile was at an end : we had visited most 
of the principal cities of this portion of the Peninsula, and 
were going to retrace our steps to Andalucia. 

The plains of Castile present little to interest the 
traveller. Wide and solitary steppes, as lonely almost as 
the Desert — affording indeed signs of cultivation, but 
scarcely a trace of the hand which tills them — meet the 
eye in every direction, and render a journey through them 
one of dull and unvarying monotony ; but though the 
rural districts of Castile offer little to call forth one's 
admiration, her cities are replete with interest. 

Burgos, with her royal sepulchres ; Leon, with her 
elegant cathedral ; Valladolid, with her mediaeval edifices ; 
Segovia, with her Roman aqueduct and Moorish Alcazar ; 
Salamanca, with her noble colleges ; Toledo, with her 
palaces, her convents, and her hospitals, all in turn arrest 



attention : the Escorial on the terraced slopes of its 
granite mountains, the proudest religious monument in 
the world ; and in the plains below, Madrid, the modern 
capital, which has usurped the place of all those venerable 
towns. But with all these charms, although we could 
linger long in Castile to study her noble edifices, and 
admire and appreciate the more quiet and sterling 
character of her inhabitants, still for a residence, Anda- 
lucia is far preferable, where the towns do not Avear 
the air of loneliness and ruin that stamps the cities of 
Castile, and where all is still clothed with a certain 
character of nationality. 

And thither our steps were now turned, and gladly 
we found ourselves again at the rocky defiles of the 
Sierra Morena. The prospect is enchanting, as one 
leaves dull La Mancha behind, and the fertile valleys 
and olive-crowned hills of Andalucia appear in the 
distance. All looks bright and sunny, and the distant 
ranges of the Sierras, covered with their snowy mantle, 
bound the blue horizon. Winter has been exchanged for 
spring ; for even in December, nature has assumed a 
verdant garb, young corn is sprouting up, and small irises 
cover the sides of the road with their deep-blue flowers. 
Bailen, Andujar, are passed, and at length after a 
journey of eight-and-forty hours, the towers of Cor- 
doba break upon the view, backed by the villa-covered 
heights of the Sierra Morena, and washed by the waters 
of the Guadalquivir. All breathes an air of oriental 
luxury and enjoyment, after the stern capital of the 
Goths ; the granite rocks are exchanged for feathery 
palms, the stony gorge of the Tagus for plains where 
the orange and the lemon perfume the air, and the 
aloe and cactus border the wayside, while the bright 
green of the pine clothes the neighbouring hills. 

Cordoba retains but small traces of her former grandeur. 



The traveller laments to find that the far-famed city of 
the Caliphs has degenerated into a third-rate provincial 
town ; its population rapidly decreasing, and nothing within 
its walls to attract even a passing notice, save the half- 
Moorish, half-Christian pile, which once was classed as 
second only in sanctity to the great mosque of Mecca itself 

The accounts handed down to posterity by the Arab 
historians of the splendour of Cordoba in the reign of 
the Abdurrahmans seem to border on the fabulous ; but 
making due allowance for eastern exaggeration, Ave may 
believe that the Moslem court in those days, both in 
costly magnificence and in the learning of those who 
flocked to it, must have been far beyond those of cotem- 
porary European nations. In the universities of Cordoba 
and of Fez, the sciences were sedulously cultivated, and 
the monarchs themselves encouraged the pursuit of 
knowledge, both by precept and example. 

Cordoba lies on the north bank of the Guadalquivir, 
in the midst of a wide and fertile plain, covered with 
olive-trees, backed by the undulating range of the Sierra 
Morena, whose dusky hue is produced by the profuse 
quantity of underwood with which it is covered. Within 
it is lonely and deserted ; and although the circuit of the 
walls is larger than that of Seville, Cordoba can only 
count about one-third of the population of the latter — 
not more than thirty or forty thousand inhabitants, where 
once dwelt above a million. The houses are low, carefully 
whitewashed, the streets wretchedly paved, and but few 
windows looking into them ; in fact dead walls in many 
places face the street, in this respect offering even a more 
oriental appearance than Seville. Many of the old 
grandees still reside here : proud and uneducated, they 
pass their lives in ignorance of the world around them. 
This town had formerly a convent in nearly every street, 
buildings which are now mouldering into decay, or 



converted into barracks and other government offices. 
There is an enormous plaza, which might be handsome 
from the size and regularity of its houses, were it 
kept in anything approaching to order, but it is a 
dirty, untidy place ; its very uniformity preventing its 
even laying claim to being picturesque. 

Everything in this ancient city sinks into utter insig- 
nificance when compared with the one centre of attrac- 
tion, the Mosque. A lofty Moorish arch leads into a 
court, planted with orange-trees and adorned with 
fountains. Beautiful as this orange court still is, how 
much more beautiful must it have been before the large 
doors which led into the building were blocked up, when 
through them could be seen the opening vista of the 
temple, supported by its thousand columns. Then, 
myriads of lamps, scented with the perfumes of aloes 
and precious woods, shed light through the edifice, fore- 
shadowing in their brilliancy the paradise in store for 
the followers of the Prophet. Within stood the Mihrab, 
the chapel in which the copy of the Koran was guarded, 
where lay the sacred volume written by the Caliph 
Othman, enshrined in its golden case, studded with 
emeralds and rubies ; the ceiling formed of one solid 
piece of marble, sculptured in the form of a shell ; and 
around, columns and interlacing arches and walls resplen- 
dent with gold and rich mosaics. 

Where now are the followers of the Prophet ? 
Another race and another faith have appropriated the 
structure to their sendee ; but the sacred mosque of 
the children of Ishmael and the effeminate luxury which 
became their sensual creed do not harmonize with the 
severity of a Christian temple. It has lost the beauty 
and splendour with which it was clothed, and the 
worship to which it is now dedicated seems out of place 
within its walls. 



There is not anything to which the Mosque of Cordoba 
can be compared. As you enter, the multitude of columns 
have an almost bewildering effect ; there is no one par- 
ticular object on which to dwell, aisle after aisle appears, 
long vistas of columns intersect each other, and the 
double horse-shoe arches, on which the roof is supported, 
increase the seeming confusion. The building is low — a 
defect rendered still more striking by the vast area 
of the edifice ; and the artesonado ceiling, which once 
glittered like those of the Alhambra, has given place to a 
vaulted whitewashed roof. The columns, although com- 
posed of costly marbles, and brought with vast expense 
and trouble from different lands, yet from having been 
originally taken from still more ancient temples, they 
present a want of uniformity, which considerably detracts 
from the harmony of the entire building. They have 
no pedestals or bases, but spring straight out of the 
pavement, which is composed of coarse common flan-. 
The eye is intercepted, as it tries in vain to sweep through 
the centre aisles ; and when you advance to discover the 
cause of the obstruction, you suddenly find yourself in a 
lofty Gothic church, its upward lines soaring high above 
the low domes which encircle it. 

It is much to be regretted that any part of the ancient 
mosque should have been removed, and that rather a 
new and suitable cathedral had not been erected on some 
other site. Yet we may console ourselves with the reflec- 
tion, that if it had not been converted to its present 
purpose, it would probably have been lost to posterity. 

The Mihrab is now carefully surrounded by iron 
railings, and although they mar the effect, they pre- 
serve it from destruction. It has not been converted 
into a chapel, and may still be contemplated as a mere 
object of art. The adjacent archway has been sadly 
interfered with, and a large painting by Cespedes covers 

• 4 



the elegant arabesques. The ceiling over the entrance 
to the Mihrab is beautiful, and the mosaics within give 
it a very Byzantine appearance ; and were it not for the 
presence of the horse-shoe arch, one would be reminded 
of the ancient Greek churches, which are so richly 
adorned with this style of ornament. 

The Christian addition taken by itself is rather fine, 
and the carved seats of the choir are exquisite. There is 
a small sacristy behind the high altar, and the old man 
who conducted us through the mosque seemed to treat 
the things contained in it with very little respect. He 
was a strange character, and said he had belonged to the 
cathedral for the last thirty years. He told us that he 
had been a prisoner in France, and gave us a long 
account of all that the French troops had stolen from 
the cathedral, and told us how Murat had entertained 
serious thoughts of making the custodia a centre-piece 
for his dining-table. I never was in a church which 
seemed to have so little religious reverence attached to 
it, either in the conduct of the people, who made it 
a mere thoroughfare, or in that of the sacristans and 
those connected with the building. 

In the sacristy is a heavy-looking monument of one of 
the prelates, displaying a greater expenditure of money 
than good taste ; and in the room where the church plate 
is preserved is an exquisite custodia, another master- 
piece of the Arfes, who, fortunately for Spain, flourished 
just at the right period to fashion into forms of elegance 
and beauty the wealth which the discovery of a new 
world was bringing to her shores. Covered with silver- 
gilt statues, it is very 7 similar in design to the one at 
Toledo. There are some very beautiful crosses likewise 
preserved here. On the staircase, descending to a sub- 
terranean chapel, is the white banner borne by St. 
Ferdinand at the conquest of the city. 



Day after day we returned to this cathedral to con- 
template its wilderness of arches and columns. It was 
erected on the site of an ancient Christian church. When 
the Arabs conquered Cordoba, they pursued their usual 
custom of dividing with the inhabitants their principal 
place of worship, and dedicating one half of it to their 
own faith. But the Moslem population increased so 
rapidly, that their portion of the building became too 
small, and the additions constantly made to it rendered 
it so inconvenient, that when Abdurrahman ascended the 
throne, he expressed a wish to raze it to the ground 
and build a new one in its place. To this, the Christians 
demurred as being a violation of the treaty agreed to 
on the capitulation of the city ; but at length the caliph 
succeeded in gaining what he required, by giving them 
money to erect another church wholly for themselves. 

This mosque, commenced in the eighth century, was 
embellished by each succeeding monarch, and received 
its largest addition in the days of Almansur. It remained 
in all its splendour until the conquest of Saint Ferdinand, 
and was then converted into a cathedral ; but it was 
reserved for the days of Charles V. to see the vandalism 
committed, which destroyed the centre of the Moorish 
portion in order to adapt it better to Christian worship. 

The orange court is now filled with loiterers who 
sit basking in the sunshine, or stand grouped around the 
fountains, filling their jars with water. It is a pity 
that the tower should be of such modern date, and not 
more in keeping with the scene than the present 
erection. The eye would willingly rest on a tower, 
such as the Giralda of Seville, or one of those exquisite 
minarets, which contribute so much to adorn the city 
of Cairo. 

The mosque stands not far from the bridge, which 
is likewise Moorish, and which is guarded at one end 



by an old castle, called the Calahorra. The view just 
beyond, looking back on the town, is extremely pretty ; 
but it has a lonely and deserted appearance. There 
is a promenade along; the banks of the river, but the 
inhabitants prefer walking in a small plaza, near one 
of the city gates, or else on a esplanade, which has lately 
been formed above the bridge. 

In this square is a very pretty tower belonging to the 
Church of San Nicolas. It has inscribed on it in large 
letters Paciencia Obedencia. This is said to have been 
done by way of a gentle reproof to the inmates of 
the convent of San Martin, which formerly existed on 
the spot now occupied by the square. It seems they 
objected to this church being erected so close opposite 
to them, as it would impede the prospect they then 
enjoyed ; but their remonstrances were of no avail, 
and when the tower was completed, the words enjoining 
patience and obedience were placed upon its walls, that 
they might always have before their eyes, what it was 
so advisable they should practise. 

One lovely evening we were seated on the benches 
in the plaza, and the promenade was crowded with gay 
and idle loungers, when the Angelus sounded on the 
stillness of the air, and instantly every head was uncovered 
until the echo had died away, and the appointed prayer 
was uttered. This custom, once so general, is now 
almost obsolete, and this was the only time we ever 
noticed it during the whole of our lengthened stay in 
the country. 

Cordoba does not appear rich in equipages, as far 
as carriages for hire are concerned ; there were but two in 
the town, and those two were never to be had during 
the whole of our stay. We saw one or two four-in- 
hands, but the liveries were not quite in character with 
the number of the horses, and the coachman who was 

i i 



driving one of them, had made himself comfortable by 
taking off his jacket. It is quite a penance to walk 
in the streets of Cordoba ; they are so wretchedly paved, 
and driving, of course, must be still worse, unless the 
springs are better than they are generally in Spanish 
vehicles. At night, too, they are not particularly well 
lighted, the small lamps, burning before the shrines of 
saints, constituting the principal medium of illumination. 

There is but little to see in the town itself, after a 
pilgrimage to the mosque has been made. "We went 
to visit the gardens of the old Alcazar, where a few 
plants still flourish, and beside them rise the tall towers 
once inhabited by the Inquisition, now occupied as a 

Just outside the walls, is the cemetery — the best kept 
that I have seen in Spain. The coffins are placed, 
according to the general practice, in niches round the 
wall; but all have ornamented tablets, some with very 
poetical inscriptions, and all most carefully attended 
to. A small chapel, with a residence for one or two 
of the clergy, who have the charge of it, forms the 
entrance ; and one of them, who really seemed to take a 
pride in it, showed us over the whole. Nothing could 
exceed the neatness of the gardens, of the rooms in 
the house, and the two pretty courts on each side 
of the church. It was laid out in 1834, on the 
ground belonging to the ancient hermitage of the Yirgen 
de la Salud, to whom it is dedicated. Her image is 
placed over the high altar, and my companion told me 
it had been discovered, on that spot, about four hundred 
years ago, enclosed in a leaden case, having probably 
been thus concealed while the Moors were in possession 
of the city. Altogether, this Campo Santo is quite a 
model that might be imitated to advantage in other 
Spanish towns. 


Sornt' portions of the walls are extremely picturesque, 
and the towers and gateways are in very good preserva- 
tion ; but the dust renders a walk round them anything 
but a pleasant undertaking. The great charm of this 
place lies in the beautiful rides which abound in the 
neighbourhood. Clothed with the most magnificent 
verdure, the Sierra Morena presents quite a novel 
attraction in Spanish scenery, being covered with cor- 
tijos, where people reside for two or three months in 
the spring, and enjoy the charming scenery around. 
They see a great deal of society likewise, and their friends 
from the town spend the day with them, and dance under 
the shadow of the orange-groves. Most of the noble and 
wealthy families have here their country-houses, some of 
which are very handsomely furnished, and the tall and 
feathering palms that overshadow them recall the fact 
that here this graceful tree was first cultivated, on its 
introduction into Spain. 

There is a charming villa called Arrizafa, a short 
distance from the town, belonging to the landlord of 
the hotel, where his guests may stay if they prefer it; 
and after you have passed this and approach the moun- 
tains, the scenery increases in beauty. Here the carob 
grows into a forest tree, the scraggy branches of the 
evergreen oak twist across the paths, and the ground is 
covered with plants of the many-coloured cistus Myrtles 
and multitudes of shrubs laden with bright blossoms, 
and groves of chesnuts and pines vary the scene ; and 
one of the highest peaks is dotted with white houses, 
dwellings of lonely anchorites, known by the name of 
the Ermitas. 

The site is well chosen ; it commands the whole 
Campina, as the flat country round Cordoba is called, 
from the castle-crowned rock of Almodovar to the distant 
peaks of the snowy mountains, while the broad river 

i i 2 



meanders through the plains. The hermitages are sur- 
rounded by a low wall, and once within the enclosure 
you ascend to the principal house occupied by the 
Hermano Mayor, where there is a small chapel sufficiently 
capacious for the brethren. One or two portraits hanging 
upon the wall of an adjoining room, preserve the recol- 
lection of the members of some distinguished Cordobese 
families, who have ended their days in the seclusion of 
this retreat Here the knights of old came to expiate lives 
misspent amid the din and turmoil of the world — some 
perhaps moved by feelings of true repentance, although 
a favourite Spanish proverb would put a less religious 
construction on their motives, for it says : " When the 
wolf can find no more sheep to eat, he turns friar." 

The Hermano Mayor had entered the Ermitas at the 
age of eighteen, and he now numbered seventy-eight 
years. For sixty years he had dwelt there apart 
from all the changing events of the world. Each 
hermit has a tiny house, containing one room with 
two alcoves ; one for his oratory, the other for sleeping. 
Every house has a small garden round it, whose walls 
are trellised with vines, their purple bunches hanging 
in rich luxuriance. They live upon the produce of 
the ground they cultivate, and the charity of their 
neighbours ; and one member of the community goes 
every month to Cordoba to beg. A pleasant idle life, well 
suited to those who delight in doing nothing, sanctified 
as it is, under the garb of religion. 

One of the hermits was a most original character ; he 
was a jolly-looking old man, and seemed delighted at the 
opportunity of talking about the world he had abandoned. 
He made us sit down while he related his history, heedless 
of the additional penance he would doubtless have to 
perform for indulging in such mundane conversation. 
He had been a colonel in the army, and served during 



the war of independence ; after the conclusion of which 
he travelled in France for three or four years. He said 
he had seen enough of the world, for he had tried it in 
all its phases. He married, and had an only child, but 
in 1S32 both his wife and daughter were carried off by 
fever on the same day ; and shortly after, disgusted with 
everything, he threw up his retiring pension of one 
hundred and forty pounds a year, and withdrew to 
the desert of Cordoba. He had, however, mistaken his 
vocation. He spoke in no terms of admiration of 
his Rosarios and Oraciones, which he seemed to con- 
sider great nonsense ; and I have no doubt before long 
he will return to the world he has forsaken. Our friend 
was very amusing, but he rather destroyed the poetry of 
the scene : the situation is far more romantic than the 
inmates, for the most vivid imagination would have 
found it difficult to conjure up anything even bordering 
on the sentimental out of the hermits themselves. 

Many a lovely ride may be taken from the Ermitas 
into the very heart of the Sierra through the pine forests ; 
and as you cross the vast olive-yards, you see the ground 
covered with beautiful garden-roses, which were once 
cultivated here to a great extent. Even the Arab his- 
torians dilate upon the celebrity Cordoba had obtained 
for the abundance of its roses. The Sierra Morena is 
rich in mineral wealth : it contains an immense coal-field, 
the produce of which is very good ; but there are no roads 
or means of transport, except on mules or horses, and the 
expense attendant on raising the coal, and carrying it, is 
consequently very great. The famous quicksilver mines 
of Almaden are well known, and the lead ore, which 
abounds, is of very superior quality. Some charming 
excursions might be made in this Sierra, and many 
picturesque villages, crowned with old castles, are dotted 
about amid the forests. On the slopes of one of the 



hills, looking over the Campina, stands one of thosi 
princely monasteries formerly occupied by the followers 
of St. Jerome ; it is needless to add that it is now a 
mere heap of ruins. It lies embosomed in orange- 
groves, surrounded by luxuriant olives and evergreen 
oaks, and now forms a most convenient resort for 
parties of pleasure from Cordoba, who dine in the old 
refectory of the fathers, making the walls re-echo to many 
a merry laugh and joyous conversation. Just below in the 
valley, may be seen a large wall enclosing a considerable 
portion of ground ; it presents as uninviting an appearance 
as can well be imagined, and yet the piece of ground 
within that ruined w r all is said to have been once covered 
with magnificent buildings. The account given by 
eastern writers of the splendid city and palace of Az- 
zahra savour much of the tales of fairy-land. Yet making 
due allowance for eastern hyperbole, there is no doubt 
that it must have been a wondrous place. 

" Praise be to God," exclaims the Arab historian, 
"who allowed those contemptible creatures to design 
and build such enchanting palaces as these !" The 
palaces of Az-zahra have crumbled into dust, and thus 
the works of man pass away, and the creations of his 
hand ; the teeming earth and the azure sky alone remain 

Cordoba is now deserted and abandoned, not a trace 
exists of the city of Az-zahra, : the roses bloom unheeded 
on the slopes of the Sierra, and the country formed to 
be a paradise is left neglected by the hand of man ; 
still, there are sounds of life and activity beginning to 
be heard around, and engineers may be seen at work pre- 
paring to lay down their iron roads to connect the cities 
of Cordoba and Seville. The whistle of the steam-engine 
will yet rouse the slumbering valleys, and the smoke of 
the locomotive curl in wreathed clouds over the plain. 



The journey of twenty-four hours over the dreary and 
sandy road, which lies between Cordoba and Seville, 
will soon be shortened ; but Ecija, the abode of many a 
proud and noble family, and Carmona, with its beautiful 
situation, and lofty tower, which aspires to imitate the 
Giralda, will no longer receive even a cursory visit, as the 
line of railway follows the course of the river, and reaches 
Seville by a speedier and more convenient route. Many 
a long clay must elapse before we can dispense with 
the heavy lumbering diligence ; we must still avail our- 
selves of it to return to the capital of Andalucia, whither 
we retraced our steps before bidding farewell to the 

It is much to be regretted, that there should be so few 
attractions, in a social point of view, to induce foreigners 
to settle in Seville. The climate is charming, the city 
contains many interesting monuments, it is easy of access, 
the surrounding country is clothed with luxuriant vegeta- 
tion, and is in many places picturesque ; living, although 
much dearer than in other Spanish towns, is not ex- 
pensive ; but then, there is no society to lend its aid 
in making time pass agreeably, no libraries, no fresh 
supplies of books and publications to instruct or amuse 
the mind — none of those numerous resources which, 
not cities merely, but even provincial towns, might be 
expected to afford. 

Spain has ever had for me a peculiar fascination. I 
dwelt with pleasure on the history of her people, and 
longed to visit the land over which such a halo of 
romance had been thrown. A residence in the country 
has in a great measure dispelled the vision in which 
imagination had indulged. I have found it neither so 
interesting as I pictured it, nor so common-place as some 
would make the world believe. Much as has been 
written of Spain, it is, with the exception of Seville and 



Granada, in reality but little known and little visited; 
and yet, each of its provinces presents features of interest 
peculiar to itself. To the artist, it is a mine of wealth ; 
to the general visitor, a land of many attractions, 
although, alas ! of many discomforts also. To the 
passing traveller, it offers more charms than to the 
permanent resident ; and when increased facilities exist 
of getting rapidly and with comfort through the Pe- 
ninsula, it will afford temptations to the tourist of 
greater variety and novelty than any other country in 



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University of Toronto